The Escaped Komodo Dragon

The school year was finally over, and I was about to embark on a summer experience that I would never forget. Just before graduating with my Masters degree in theology, I was made aware that a professor at a Bible seminary in Haiti had been forced to take an unforeseen leave-of-absence, leaving the seminary in desperate need of a teacher. Spending the summer teaching in Haiti sounded like a "once-in-a-lifetime" offer, one that would more than likely bring plenty of exiting experiences; and with this in mind, I gladly offered my services.

It didn't take very long for me to begin those "exciting experiences", and one of the first ones involved the resident Komodo dragon. I had never seen a lizard as big as this one; and I didn't know anything about them. But he looked so peaceful and he seemed to enjoy human company so much, that I couldn't understand why he was kept locked behind bars!

I would later learn that this largest member of the lizard family can grow up to ten feet long and are mostly restricted on a few small islands in Indonesia. They can run as fast as a dog and can swallow medium-sized animals, like sheep, whole. The bacterium in their mouths is deadly to both animals and humans alike, thus they are considered very dangerous. In addition, they are on the endangered species list.

But I didn't know any of this at the time, and one day, while walking to the director's house where I usually ate my meals, I found myself nose to nose with the Komodo dragon. "He must have escaped from his awful prison!" I thought, and I realized that I was glad he was no longer behind those bars. He looked so gentle that I started to talk to him, and when I did, he turned to face me. He seemed to be listening carefully to everything I said, and I found myself wishing there was something I could do to help him. I could tell he was enjoying his freedom, and quite frankly, I didn't want him to have to go back to that "prison call"! Maybe, if I continued to talk to him, he would follow me away from the campus . . .

As I was starting to develop my little plan, the director's wife appeared at the end of the road. She stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes wide open in fright. Then she started to run towards me, yelling and waving her arms. It looked just like she was running from a swarm of bees! The Komodo dragon didn't wait for her to arrive. At the first sight of this "mad" woman, he turned and ran away; and I wondered if I shouldn't follow his example!

When she was close enough for me to hear, she yelled, "Don't you know how dangerous these creatures are? He could have killed you!"

"Killed me?" I asked. "Not him! I talked with him for at least ten minutes and he was a wonderful audience!"

"Then you were lucky!" she answered. "These creatures are extremely dangerous! He could have had you for his lunch!"

When I think about this experience now, I am amazed at the fact that though I was in a potentially dangerous situation, I wasn't afraid. But as a Christian, this situation was no different than any other dangerous situation that we regularly face. When we have Jesus as our guide, we don't have to be afraid of anything, for Jesus is bigger than any known or unknown danger!

The Bible assures us that "They will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." (Mark 16:18) So when Jesus is leading the way, I don't need to be afraid of an escaped Komodo dragon. In fact, I don't need to be afraid of anything in God's nature, and I certainly don't need to be afraid of my circumstances! Why not? Because Jesus is my guide and protector. His Word holds true in all circumstances: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28). I Just have to make sure to come to Jesus and give my burdens to Him!

God is awesome! No matter the circumstances, we can be assured that He is there for us.

Oh no! Komodo dragons approaching! What will your reaction be?

Rob Chaffart

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