The Forever Journey

Going Home

Going Home

Two years ago I curiously watched this wrinkled, aged elephant travel a lonely, solitary path through the middle of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.  Earlier in our trip, our safari guide told us that during this time of year, the younger elephants would stay on the forested walls of the crater where food was more easily accessible.   This elephant, he said, would die soon.  With the instinct only a Creator could have given him, he knew his time was short and he had come down into the heart of the scorched crater to be alone for how ever many final days he had left to experience.

As I watched this magnificent old guy slowly put one step in front of the other, I noticed that it took an extreme amount of effort for him to do so. The zoo of safari vehicles surrounding him were of no concern to him.  He had seen it all before – more times than he probably cared to remember.  Yet, though in obvious pain, in his eyes, I saw tremendous peace.  I saw resignation in his face as he lumbered towards the watering hole for his afternoon soak.

Watching him, I pondered how many journeys this old man could have taken in his lifetime.  In Africa, grasses and water are often seasonal offerings and most wild animals must follow migratory paths just to survive.  Surely this ancient fellow had experienced a lifetime of hardships mixed with bounty, sadness mixed with contentment, but he innately knew the path mapped out for his life.  He understood the importance to obey that instinct.  He didn’t look sad.  His mannerisms said, “I accept where I am.  I am content.”

I wonder if we, as humans, accept our life circumstances with as much grace and understanding as this gentle giant accepted his.  We share the same Creator, yet we, as humans, incessantly argue with the very One who created us.  We try to order our own lives instead of accepting that our lives have already been ordered and made perfect by the One who placed breath within us.   Before we drew that first breath, our Creator knew us intimately.  He created us with unique gifts and temperaments for a purpose He sovereignly and precisely ordained.  He knew we could only be perfected through and by Him, because when left to our own devices, we spoiled it.  We spat in the face of the One who faithfully loved us – the One who created us – we, the very the ones who should glorify  Him.   From day one we said ‘we know best,’ when in fact, our imperfection and sinful nature lie daily to us about any actual ability we have to be more than we are.   Yes, I said ‘sinful nature.’

With a love only a Creator Father could have, God has ordained each step we take.  Yet, we constantly question whether these steps are the rights ones to take rather than simply walking faithfully down the path mercifully provided for us.  Like this marvelous elephant, we should glory in our Creator, knowing that our journey may not seem purposeful to us at any given point and time, but is safely guarded and guided by the One who assuredly placed us on it.  This elephant  so easily accepted his journey.  We, likewise, should be content with the journey God has set before us, knowing that His plans for us are perfect and just.

Thus our choice is not one of believing the Creator exists or does not.  Our very presence shouts His existence.   The presence of this magnificent creature bellows loudly of His Creator.  Rather, our choice lies in our humble acceptance or refusal/denial of the path placed before us.   Our refusal to accept what God has ordained has consequences – thus our choice is engaged as we experience those consequences.  For those He has chosen, any deviation we take from the path ordained for us eventually leads us back to our Creator, but how much more content would we be if we had not chosen to deviate from the journey in the first place?    The problem is:  deviations do not always reflect obedience and we were created to ……obey. Ouch!  We don’t like to hear that word…….

I wonder……I wonder….how much happier we would be if we accepted our journey instead of fighting against it.   I wonder how much happier we would be if we accepted that obedience is a mercy gift to us.   Instead, we believe that we have the right to create our own journey, when in fact, it has already been ordained for us.

This old guy could teach us a thing or two.  He knew.

Proverbs 16:9   The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Proverbs 19:21   Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Bruce on January 4, 2009 at 8:15 PM

    Very insightful, and very well written. I agree with your premise that if we study God’s creation more closely, many truths that can be applied to our own lives will become much more apparent.

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