We knew there were lions around, but we felt fairly safe on my big 500 c.c. motorcycle. Deng, my African friend, was riding on the seat behind, and I was driving the motorcycle as best I could over the rough dirt road in the half darkness of early morning.
We had left our mission station at Kabus Bridge before the sun rose: so we wouldn't have to travel in the fierce heat of a dry-season day. Deng and I often traveled together to preach the gospel to people who were serving false gods, and living in sin. We wanted to tell them that Jesus loved them so much that He died on the cross for them.
As we roared along, kicking up dust behind us, I remembered the day when my wife and I saw five lions coming towards us as we rounded a bend. Only we weren't riding a motorcycle; we were walking! We looked around for trees to climb. There weren't any. We couldn't turn and run - they would have jumped on us at once. We had no guns. We prayed quietly for God's protection (and I hope that you always pray for the safety of your missionaries. You never know what they are experiencing.) They kept coming closer. The only thing we could do was to walk towards them. Then they stopped. God must have spoken to them. Suddenly they bounded off on the side of the road and stood there roaring at us. As we walked by, it was as if some unseen hand were holding them back.
While I was thinking about that frightening experience, we had been riding down a steep, rocky hill. I had to slow up so we wouldn't sIide in the loose stones.
Suddenly, I felt Deng's knuckles dig into my sides, and I heard him hiss in my ear. I looked up to see four eyes gleaming in the light of the headlamp. I jammed on the brakes as I saw the outline of two full-grown lions. They were standing only 15 yards away, right in the middle of the road. The first rays of sun were Iighting the sky. And I could see that one was a hungry looking female, and the other a big male, his collar of fur bristling fiercely around his head.
Deng hung on tight, as we put our feet down on the road to steady the motorcycle, which I kept running. What should we do? I prayed that God would show us. I thought how these lions were like Satan. The Bible says he goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. We have to ask God to keep us from Satan, just as Deng and I needed rescuing from these lions.
The male lion decided to act. He disappeared silently into the long grass beside the road. "That's bad," I thought. "The male lion always stalks the prey, chasing it towards the female, who does the kiIIing. He's going to circle round and come up behind us."
If we had turned around, the lioness would have jumped on our backs. And if she had missed the first leap, we still could not have got away up the steep hill in time. I moved a little closer. She didn't budge. I blew the horn; I raced the engine; I flicked the headlight dimmer switch up and down. But she stood her ground. I didn't know how close her mate was behind us by now. Then she put her head close to the road and switched her tail back and forth like a cat watching a mouse. I knew she was going to spring on us. "Oh God, help us now!" I breathed in prayer. I quickly opened the throttle wide and headed the motorcycle straight at the lioness. For a second she watched us; then suddenly turned around and ran down the road. I knew I had to keep after her, or she might turn on us and maybe her mate was following. The lioness kept running down the road, almost like a galloping donkey, with us roaring behind her for all we were worth. Then she wheeled off into the grass and disappeared. And we kept sailing right on, thankful for the Lord's deliverance.
"Deng," I said when we finally stopped for a rest, "this reminds me of the Bible verse, ' Resist the devil, and he will flee from you '." Deng pulled his robe closer around him and blinked his dark eyes. The next time the devil tempted him to sin, he would remember that verse.
- Sudan Witness
"My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths,
that they have not hurt me:
forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me;
and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt."