What is Your Elephant?

Show me in the Bible where is says that God will not give us more than we can handle. You won’t find it.

Your mind may go to:

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

This passage is about being tempted not about facing trials or accomplishing tasks that you are called to do. In fact, most things, tasks and circumstances that we face are too much for us to handle on our own. That is why we need God. We are weak. It is in our weakness that His strength is made perfect.

Let’s look at the Bible for a moment. I want you to see for yourself that even the champions of the faith faced circumstances greater then they could handle on their own.

Noah was to build a boat to save his family from the flood but didn’t know the definition of boat or rain.

Abraham was to be the father of nations yet was without child.

Moses was to lead the children of Israel out of slavery but had a speaking problem, murder on his record and a corrupt king standing in his way.

David was a kid who had a giant to kill.

The list goes on and on…

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I know that most of you have never and will never face any of the exact same trials listed in the Bible. But at some point, in your life, you will be faced with something HUGE – bigger than you ever dreamed and you have no idea how you’ll handle it. What lies ahead seems like a huge, heavy elephant.

Have you ever heard the question, “how do you eat an elephant?”

The answer (whether you’ve heard it or not) is: one bite at a time.

Your elephant is unique to you. My elephant doesn’t look, smell or weigh the same as yours. Your elephant could be a chore that lies ahead: moving to a new place, deep cleaning your entire home or writing a book. You might be faced with handling seemingly impossible circumstances: caring for elderly parents, dealing with a fatal illness or bringing home a wayward loved one. Maybe your elephant is something you are called to: mission work in another country, leaving your current job to pursue full time ministry or starting a program at your church. Whatever your elephant is, it is bigger than you. It will take a miracle to “digest” it or get it accomplished. That’s the most awesome part! Only God can make it happen. Only He can heal. Only His strength gets you through this trial. He is the one who establishes your steps toward ministry and service.

It’s not about the size of your elephant, it’s about the size of the God you trust.

Don’t concentrate on the problem, the task or circumstance. Focus on the one who delivers, heals and prepares. He will show you how to take one bite at a time.

For Noah, it was one board at a time.

For Abraham, it was one day at a time.

For Moses, it was one plague at a time.

For David, it was one stone at a time.

For you, what will you trust God to do? It may be one treatment at a time, one page at a time, one donor at a time… I do not know your elephant. God knows you and what you are facing. Trust Him and ask Him what bite to take first. Before you know it, you’ll have victory!

The Peanut Butter River

There is an action song that is sung in many prekindergarten classrooms all over the country: Going on a Beat Hunt. It is quite silly but the kids love it. As the “hunt” progresses, there are obstacles that must be conquered. One obstacle is a peanut butter river. “You can’t go over it, you can’t go around it, you have to go across it.” In the end, you come across the bear and run away in fear. Like I said it is quite silly and pointless. Yet, the kids are drawn to it and ask for it regularly. When the first few notes of the song play, the kiddos get so excited and assume the position for the hunt.

I tell you this because I recently went on a bear hunt. Only it wasn’t a bear I was after. It was a pursuit of security in the things of this world. I didn’t realize it until I found myself smack dab in the middle of the blasted peanut butter river. I was bogged down and could barely move. Spiritually speaking, I couldn’t catch my breath. If I moved at all it was in slow motion. The thickness of my schedule weighed so heavy on me that I felt as though I was being dragged under. My focus was on getting across to find that allusive bear – that false sense of security.

Then, I looked up and cried out to my Daddy for help.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.

Psalm 40:1-2

How utterly absurd it seems to go on a bear hunt. Yet, we are drawn to it. Satan plays a couple of notes (pushes our buttons) and we strap on our hunting boots. Off we go, chasing the wind.

Here is the truth: It doesn’t have to be this way. We can stand firm. We can choose not to leave the safety and security of our Savior. First, we must recognize that the enemy seeks to devour. When we hear the first notes playing, instead of strapping on our boots for the hunt, we must be ready with the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15).

My encouragement to you is to stop chasing after whatever is keeping you away from the presence of God. Surrender your schedule, your habits, the demands of your day/life and focus on God and His great love for you – nothing else. He has a plan for you. But it is His job to bring it to fulfillment. You have a part to play for sure. However, we need to let God do the work in us and through us in His time and in His way. Bear hunts are silly and pointless. Only one hunt always results in victory…

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, …

Jeremiah 29:11-14

Trials to Trust

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18Continue reading “Trials to Trust”

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