I often wonder why when God gives me a word to share, He will say “not right now.” For this one in particular, not only do I understand, but how He brought this back to my remembrance (John 14:26) has truly blessed me more than when it originally occurred. His timing is everything! Doing what He says, His way according to the Word and through the urging of the Holy Spirit is critical, not only to your life individually, but to the lives of those connected to you.
Several months ago, I went to Walmart making my way back to the electronics section. As I was perusing through the TVs, there was an older gentleman talking with the store associate. I kindly waited for them to finish and proceeded to ask a few questions to the associate. While doing so, I noticed the man standing there as if to conversate more. So, I kindly ended my existing conversation, allowing him to go back and ask the associate more questions only to find out I was the one he wanted to talk to.
Side note…It is important to recognize the spirit of who you are and your heart posture when you are out amongst God’s people. I recall for many years, I had a nasty disposition, was not kind, and majority of the time had a look on my face that was not inviting others to even speak; let alone carry a conversation. I think about those times of how I missed the blessings of God He sent my way, and because of the enemy in me, I did not receive. And before we get a little head of ourselves, this can happen to anyone, especially when your mind is focused on your situation, or you are so broken you see nothing else but your brokenness. Do not believe me, remember the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-34)? These were two disciples who saw Jesus, and spent time with Him, and along their journey when He initially appeared, they completely missed Him. The disciples were so caught up in Jesus’ resurrection and He no longer being physically present (walking head down in discouragement), they did not recognize who was walking alongside of them.
Back on track to the story at hand. The older gentleman started asking if I knew how elephants are captured. With the puzzled look on my face, I responded no. He went on to explain in Africa when an elephant is set to be captured, there is a steep hole dug and covered with bamboo leaves. They place bark, roots, fruit, and other things available in the center to entice the elephant. See the parallel? We have an enemy who, at times, entices us with the very thing we like. Now satan is not all knowing, so it takes for us to reveal our desires but at that point, he can tempt us using those very things to pull is away from Christ (James 1:14).
Once the elephant is drawn near to what is appealing to the eye, and falls into the hole, believe it or not the fall itself does not generally harm it. I KNOW!! If we think about the size of an elephant, a fall probably will not harm or hurt it too much. But here is the kicker. As the elephant is in the hole, up to 20 people surround it and begin gently tapping the elephant around its body with a stick that resembles a drumstick. Can you picture it? Not the fall, but the process of tapping the elephant wears it down, causing the elephant to squeal, squirm, and submit being annoyed and in pain. I will let that sit for a minute…come on 2020.
Collectively, 2020 has been different. We have experienced sickness, coronavirus, death, job loss, struggling mentally, social unrest, racial injustice, unsettling political climate, awaiting a vaccine, now that it is here, do we take it; physically distance, unable to hug family members, wearing a mask whenever we step outside our home, being the teacher and lunch lady to our children, being spouse, parent, and care giver in the midst of ALL these things. Oh, and some of us have not experienced corporate worship with our church families in almost a year. And did I mean for the run-on sentence? Yes, because that has been the tapping 2020 has done to us; things occurring back-to-back and in some cases at the same time.
Just as the elephant is in this scenario, so are we. We are scared, hurting, annoyed, discouraged, saddened, upset, angry, just all the emotions. When I first started this blog, I mentioned God’s timing is the best timing and I do not always understand Him giving a word but telling me not to write it at that time. See, here is the thing. I had my own emotional rollercoaster to experience, to study on those emotions with my church family, and overcome those through Christ in order to encourage someone else.
At the end of all the tapping, we are often left in a precarious position of feeling alone carrying the weight from all we have from the experience. What do we do? Hebrews 12:1 says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Sure, God allows things to occur; however, we still get the opportunity to surround ourselves with other believers in Christ to help encourage us to let go of the weight. Let go of the experiences, the emotions, to free ourselves of the burden we were never created or meant to carry. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Even in the story the gentleman shared with me on the elephant, the elephant was not alone. It is surrounded by those who want to capture and hold it for their use. We have the Word of God, His love letter to us, reminding us we are not alone (Joshua 1:9). He wants to wrap us up in His love, holding us up to be used for His glory and our good.
As 2020 closes out and 2021 enters in, be encouraged to let the weight go. Leave it behind so you can run with ease the race God has set before you…knowing each day God graces us, is another opportunity to live in and on purpose!