In life we all die but very few of us really live. Another day, another time and another place all mean something different to each of us. Today I bring you to another mind whiff, the ‘zebra crossing’. Yes, the zebra crossing! The zebra crossing that I refer to for our benefit happens only once a year and in the wilds of Africa. This particular place is located in the center of Africa and is called the Serengeti. It is an amazing location basked with an incessant landscape where animals of the wild live a ritualistic ceremony that takes place only once a year. I cannot recount this activity as a reporter for wildlife or as a specialist in this field but what is of interest here is it bears the origin of our zebra crossing and watching this yearly ritual on television the other night liberated another conundrum of rules that we live by in the spiritual world.
The bulk of the program centered on a change in climatic conditions in this part of the world, a drought season developing on one side of the Serengeti river while the other retained heavy rain fall. The herds of herbivores that lived in the drought parts of the land where faced with the prospect of starvation unless they made the daring trip across the Serengeti. It was also then an opportunity for the crocodiles and lions to have their feast of the year. I watched the herd of zebras walk in multiple groups to the edge of the river and stop, gathering at the river bank as though waiting for some particular signal before the crossing. They stood in groups doing very little except smothering each other and planning their route across the ferocious waters. Naturally the crocodiles kept a low profile within the river and watched in anticipation, waiting patiently for the zebras to take the challenge. Soon the shores became busy as the zebras where eventually joined at the banks of the river by gazelles with similar intentions. Although the whole scenery looked amazing one could not help but feel the jitters for these animals. They faced the wildness of the river to deal with and if that wasn’t bad enough there was the prospect of being torn to shreds by the crocodiles. There was also the problem of the lions to contend with later on but I guessed no one was thinking that far ahead at this stage.
Eventually we were put out of our misery as the zebras proceeded to the edge of the river in anticipation to begin their inevitable voyage. I watched curiously as one of the zebras emerged out of the pack as though he were the leader and began to swim across the less savage parts of the river. It so happened that this was also the home of the crocodiles so I waited patiently for it to be ripped to pieces by the hungry predators. I wasn’t alone for all the other zebras and gazelles watched in fear as it swam across the busy river. I needn’t have held my breath for it swam across unscathed to emerge at the far side without any of the crocodiles braking in stride to swoop it for lunch. The remaining zebras having seen that the impossible had been achieved started swimming across the river in numbers. The crocodiles didn’t need a wakeup call this time for they suddenly came alive and attacked the herd savagely killing as many as they could. Naturally a good number of the zebras made it across the river for they outnumbered the crocodiles and as these animals where quite big it took almost three crocodiles to feast on one zebra. On the other side of the river the surviving zebras began grazing on the healthy grass thankful that they had survived the river ride and hopeful that the lions who watched them won’t select them out from the herd.
I was following the action with interest at this point knowing that there was something in all of this that lurked just beneath the surface. I knew that what I had witnessed was symptomatic of the spiritual world yet I couldn’t yet put my finger on it. I decided to stay on and see the program to the end as it had struck a nerve that I knew would eventually be revealed. I watched to see an even larger herd than that of the zebras clambering towards the river in their hundreds. The wilder beast seemed to have finally organized themselves wherever they had been and decided that they won’t be famished in the drought. They stampeded in their numbers gathering by the river banks as the zebras and like the animals before them took in the scenery of inevitable death that lay ahead for some of them. There was still no reaction from the gazelles as they watched this new herd prepare to plummet into the vast jaws of the savages. And again as in the case of the zebras, a volunteer leader eventually emerged and swam across the river unscathed. The other animals took courage from this and proceeded to cross in numbers. The crocodiles seeing all the activity before them came alive again and killed as many as they could. The wilder beast where more frantic with their attempt as they where greater in number so quite a few where lost through panic and suffocation as others trampled over them.
I waited like most viewers I guess for what seemed like an eternity then I noticed that the gazelles had finally decided it was their turn to proceed through the river. Although the gazelles were fewer than the zebras or the wilder beast, it seemed that again the same rules applied as a lonesome volunteer emerged from the small herd and swam diligently across the river. One could almost prophesize what would happen next for as the herd proceeded across they where again slaughtered savagely by the crocodiles.
I eventually realized that the uncanny thing about what I had just witnessed was the good fortune that befell all three volunteer leaders. They appeared to live by different rules from everyone else. By taking the risk to serve the others and putting their lives at stake they had made it across unharmed by the crocodiles. I began to draw links to the spiritual world. The bravery that exists for giving our lives for others is respected by good and evil. Good admires this in us as we have elected to die for others and gives us free passage to victory. Evil also admires this as in its own evil way sees an opportunity to use deception to its advantage. It uses this fact by allowing others to build a false sense of security from another’s success and then pounces upon us devouring us mercilessly. The spiritual man who follows the way of our Lord knows that his life mirrors that of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which case he is not afraid to lay his life at anytime for the benefit of his fellow man. On the other hand those who stay back to protect their lives end up losing them as they are killed in their numbers by the evil which applauds their cowardice. There is no fear of dying if you believe that you shall have eternal life.
I believe that we are all leaders of some nature depending on what we recognize as our chosen gift. Courage is giving to leaders for others to follow and become leaders themselves. The precept to the spiritual man is to be a leader in his chosen gift, be it reading, teaching, preaching, writing, ministering, healing, etc. We can make others cross savage seas if we lead them across with little regard for our own lives.