The Lion King

photo by Roya Ann Miller

Last week I saw the new version of the Lion King. I thought the movie was great! I am definitely partial to the original in all of its bright colors and child like wonder. However, there was something powerful about real looking lions portraying this epic story. I have seen the original dozens of times, and yet I have come to see and appreciate this story in a different light. Without the distraction of all the unrealistic colors and playful nature, I was able to view this story in much more of a realistic way. I saw a story that is all too common, woven within this well known movie.

I saw myself.

Simba was born of a king, an heir to the throne, and was desperate to understand what it meant to be and act like a king. Simba was curious, eager to learn, and adventurous. Simba knew who he was and who he could be, because he was reminded daily by his father. It wasn’t until Scar entered the scene that his perception on what it meant to be a king started to become tainted. Scar does two things. The first thing he does is he shines a spotlight on a place that Mufasa says Simba should never go. He convinces him that if he were to go there, he could prove his worth and bravery; the bravery of a king. Simba goes and we all know that it doesn’t end well. It results in shame due to his disobedience against his father. The second thing Scar does is he speaks judgment and lies over little Simba as his father is laying lifeless on the ground. It’s at this point that we realize that everything that Scar has done up until this point was all for one purpose: Make sure Simba never becomes who he was born to be.

He doesn’t die like Scar assumes. Instead he lives hidden in the jungle for years trying to forget his father, his past, and the destiny of his real purpose. Sound familiar?

This story is no different than the one that takes place in our hearts the very moment we let Jesus in. When Scar blames Simba for the death of his father, he tells him to do two things. He says “run away and never return”. This is what the enemy hisses in our ears all of the time. He speaks lies and fear over us in an attempt to get us as far away as possible from our destiny; our true identity. Scar didn’t want Simba to become king so he lied to him so he would simply go away. The sad reality is that Satan does the same thing to us. Running away with shame puts us exactly where the enemy wants us. If he can just get us to believe how worthless, useless, unloved, and unqualified we are, we will never be the worthy, powerful, loved, and qualified sons and daughters we were meant to be. So Satan LIES to us, and we therefore run away… far far away in a jungle somewhere singing Hakuna Matata with all the lies and things that really aren’t what’s best for us.

That story didn’t end there though, and ours doesn’t have to either.

My favorite scene in the entire movie is when Rafiki has found adult Simba and hits him over the head (in the original, literally haha) telling him that his father Mufasa is alive. He brings him to the water only to show him his own reflection. However, moments later Rafiki says my favorite line in the entire movie… “look harder, you see he lives in you”. As Simba looks closer he sees the face of his father. How often do we forget that our Heavenly Father lives and dwells within us? At times WE like to tell God who we are in an attempt to convince Him that we are incapable of what He’s asking us to do. I imagine God saying to us what Rafiki says to Simba: “I’m not the one who is confused, you’re the one who doesn’t even know who you are.” This was where the story took a turn! Seeing his father’s reflection reminds Simba how important it is for him to reclaim his destiny as king.

I really feel that Rafiki is the hero of this story! Rafiki means “friend” in Swahili, which I love! We should all be surrounding ourselves with Rafiki’s who will “hit us over the head” and remind us of who we really are. A true friend is never going to let you run forever from the callings and purposes that God has on your life. A true friend is never going to let you live under the lies spoken over you.

A true friend will always take you to the water and tell you to look harder until you see who you really are.

The movie ends with Simba setting the story straight and telling Scar the same thing he told him all those years ago. “Run away and never return.” Scars fate is then sealed once his own friends realize that the only king he ever was and ever will be, is the king of lies. Just like in our own lives, as soon as Simba remembered who he was, he was able to silence the lies; which led him right back to where he belonged on pride rock.

Recently I started forgetting who I was. I was placing my identity in Earthly things. My own talents and dreams and success was telling me I was good enough. So when a few of those things got shaken up, I had nothing to stand on. I felt like a failure. Shame, blame, and fear will always have us running away. Until we fully embrace the King inside of us, we will constantly be reminded of the pain of our past and the effects it has had on our life. But like Rafiki said, “The past can hurt, but the way I see it you can either run from it or learn from it.” When you stop running long enough to see yourself how God sees you, and you therefore remember the power within you, He will replace the lies with life giving truth and the hurt with hope. So I hit myself over the head (figuratively lol) and reminded myself that I too was born into my destiny as a daughter of The King; a King that isn’t dead.

No. He’s alive within me.

Simba: “You knew my father?”
Rafiki: “Correction, I KNOW your father.”
Simba: “I hate to tell you this, but he died a long time ago.”
Rafiki: “Nope! Wrong again! He’s alive and I’ll show him to you, follow old Rafiki he knows the way…”

Look closer, so you can see the face of your Heavenly Father; and remember who you are.

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you… And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.” (Romans 8:11,17)

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