Today I had a encounter with an elephant named Soka. The team had been giving him fruit and sugar cane to eat and we each had the chance to have him take food from our hands. I had run out of things to give him at this point and decided to reach out regardless and much to my surprise Soka reached his trunk out and let me pet him. I was blown away by the gentle grace of such a massive creature and I was reminded of a story I heard about how they tamed elephants in the circus.
When an elephant is young they tie a thick and heavy chain around its leg and attach it to a post in the ground. No matter how hard it tries, the elephant is unable to move away from the post without hurting itself and eventually it stops pulling so hard. As it grows bigger the chain they use gets smaller until eventually a thin string is all that they need to keep the elephant I place. The tug of that string reminds it of the painful experience it had growing up trying to move away from the post and so it doesn’t try to move away. They rob it of it’s strength.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be one thing: a parent. I want to grow up and be a dad. I’ve never cared what career I had as long as it meant I could be there for my family and raise my children. This is a part of myself that I always believed was my calling and I prayed often about God bringing me to the places I needed to be in order to reach that dream. I never expected God would take me to Cambodia on a mission trip. And I definitely never expected to touch and elephant and have my entire world shaken by it. I never expected to feel like I could be a missionary.
Shaking hands with Soka, I began to realize something. That dream of mine, that is my string and my post. It’s something I grew up believing was exactly what I was destined to do. That it was all I could do. Yet now being here in Cambodia, I’m finding that I can be so much more. The thought of going out into the world and walking in Christ with people from all corners and all nations, it brings me excitement.
The great commission reads “go and make disciples of all nations” meaning we are to bring Christ to the world around us. However the original Greek is better translated “As you go, make disciples of all nations”. The verb “Go” is in the imperative mood, meaning it is the command that we are given. And as we are going with Christ we are to make disciples. Wherever the Lord leads me I know that He will bring me peace and joy, if that’s in a nation thousands of miles from home or in a child’s voice calling me dad. I know that with God I am a strong as the elephants and that He has bigger plans than I could ever anticipate.