Sunday, October 27, 2013
“When two elephants struggle, it is the grass that suffers.” ― Swahili Proverb
As a boy, I loved elephants. I thought how wonderful it would be to be so big that no one would bother you. I thought that it was the elephant, not the lion, who was truly the king of beasts. After living here for years, watching hours and hours of documentaries on elephants and having the privilege of observing them in the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater on many occasions for many hours, I realized how hard it was to be an elephant. Their tusks make them a prime target of poachers--farmers needing to feed their families and the other people of their country make elephant territory smaller and smaller. The life of an elephant is one of struggle. Struggling to stay alive while needing to eat huge amounts every day. Elephants are very social and stay together, but not without fighting from time to time to determine who gets to be the leader. Watching elephants is kind of like watching people who struggle to eat and to keep the elephants from wiping out their crops. A single elephant can eat an entire harvest of casava in one night thus depriving the farmer and his family from having food, sending the kids to school, having clothes--you get the idea. There is no animal that gets to have all it wants, whenever it wants it. There are no animals who do not suffer from each other, other animals, and humans. So, too, do we suffer from animals and from other humans. There is one huge difference. We have the sacrifice of Christ, His resurrection, and His promise to allow us to rise above the strife, poverty, disease, and all the other assaults on our persons that the environment, government, and other people bring. Christ alone gives us hope, gives us forgiveness, gives us unconditional love, and gives us His promise that we will one day be with Him and leave everything else behind. It is what His life, His death, and His resurrection give to us that allow us to be truly free. He, and He alone, can take away our sorrows and our suffering, and bring us peace. I no longer want to be an elephant, just a worker in a distant vineyard, helping others to know the peace that passes all understanding and brings hope.