Here’s a very creepy picture of a juvenile Great White Shark (juveniles can still be 8 feet long!) cruising the breakers in knee deep water off an Australian Beach while children play just feet away. While creepy, it is worth a look. Definitely a sobering picture which makes Florida beaches look a bit safer.
But it serves as a reminder of the dangers which exist for children and families, and not just at the beach. This shark reminds me of a passage addressed to elders in I Peter 5:8-9-though it is applicable for anyone in a shepherding type role.
“8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
It is wise to be aware of Satan, the proverbial Great White Shark.
As Redeemer has been going through Revelation, we’ve seen that Satan is now bound (Rev 20:2; Matt 12:29). He can’t deceive the nations any longer. But while bound, that doesn’t mean he’s not busy going down swinging. He still tries to condemn, he still speaks lies, and it would seem from this verse he plays some role in persecution or at least the affect of persecution. But as C.S. Lewis reminded us, and the Usual Suspects reminded us again, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
It is unwise to act like he doesn’t exist and so become unaware of his schemes (II Cor 2:11).
We need to be both aware and sober minded, but at the same time not fearful. Martin Luther reminds us in his most famous hymn A Might Fortress is Our God that “one little world shall fell him.
So we resist him by holding firm to Jesus, knowing that Satan’s activity, while a pain in the butt, cannot alter God’s plan of salvation for anyone. We pray with the image of the shark in the backdrop, so as never to become complacent. In our fervent prayers, we can trust that the little ones and the parents of little ones might not be tempted to disbelieve, improperly fear him, or believe in his lies.
I think recognizing we’re surrounded by sharks might be better than praying like we’re surrounded by dolphins.