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The Night Belongs to the Predators

My wife and I are getting ready to go on a two-month mission trip to Malawi and Kenya. I am excited to have her with me for a million reasons but at the end of the trip, we are going down to the Serengeti to take a photo safari.  While I have been there before, she never has. All the preparation reminded me of a conversation I had with our guide the last time I was there.

I wanted to get some late afternoon, early evening photographs around the lodge and game range and asked if he would help me do this.  He quickly agreed, since he worked for tips, but said only as long “as we get back before dark.” Assuming I already knew the answer, I asked anyway. “Why?” His answer was simple and direct.  “The night belongs to the predators.”

That phrase has never left me.  When pressed, he said the predators were such things as lions, leopards, and other animals, but that they also included bandits, robbers, and marauders. There is a spiritual truth in his statement as well as some good advice for the white man traveling in Africa.

For years in youth ministry, I would encourage students to have specific plans and specific times to be home at night. Even though I did not put it in those words, I was saying that the night belonged to the predators, or in this case, the predator.  I often would ask students who did not want a curfew what good thing was available for them after midnight in the small town in which we lived. Scripture says in I Peter 5:8 that Satan paces back and forth like a lion looking for someone to devour. The later it gets, the less likely a person of any age is going to be able to protect himself.

I experienced that in my own life in July of 2009, when I was an hour from home late one night and the enemy of our soul set me up for failure and I walked into the trap. (Disclaimer: That is not to say I have no part in this and that I am a victim. If you want to know the whole story, go to www.petetackett.com and watch the video or read the story of this journey.) It was a classic case of needing to practice what I preach.  I am thankful for God’s provision and protection and the incredible mercy and grace I have tasted since then, but make no mistake about it.  That night belongs to the predator. Be careful out there!

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