Elephants used to roam freely in the forests around Knysna, South Africa. Today those magical creatures of old have forged their place in legend and literature, as is the case in J.R.R. Tolkien’s oliphants in Lord of the Rings. Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, S.A. in 1892, and spent the first three years of his life in South Africa. Olifants is the Afrikaans word for elephant.
Last Saturday I had the privilege of visiting one of the elephant sanctuaries around Knysna, S.A. and took this picture. They are gentle beasts mostly, as long as food is part of the deal. Touching the tough and scratchy hide is fascinating. Their massive ears are filled with blood vessels used as a cooling mechanism when they flap. Elephants spend most of their time eating and very little time sleeping, especially if they are in the wild. Elephants are always on the move.
The following day we heard a minister speak on James 1:1-12. He connected count it all joy with verse 5’s asking for wisdom in a way that I had not seen before. We are to think thanks, or count it all joy, in whatever trial we are in. When we are being tested, we are to be grateful. Why? Because of verse 3. James says that because we know that the test is for our good, we can engage being th(i)nkful.
Our faith is exposed in trials. If we have compartmentalized our lives, putting our faith in one department, and our everyday living in another, it will be painful to connect the two when difficulties come. However, if we have synced the two, our faith in that God is using this situation in my life for good, will enable us to respond in trusting joy and to be thankful.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God in faith, and it will be given him. The quest for wisdom is in regard to how we can count it all joy in difficult times. We build our thoughts on the sure foundation that God is in control, trusting in His wisdom and incredible love for us, and then count it all joy. We think thanks.
Just like that elephant who is always on the go looking for food, I should always be on the move looking for what I can think thanks about in my present situation, whether easy or not. My brain pattern of th(i)nkfulness is increased in strength every time it is exercised.
Today I am th(i)nkful for:
- having a safe trip to Africa and back
- God writing the story of my life every moment in small ways and big
- the couples traveling with us being so open and teachable
- Ros and Rob Warren’s Pepperwood Lodge Bed & Breakfast that soothes the soul
- Grapetizers that are still delicious
- the Gospel message changing lives
credit to Billy Gotcher, speaking at Lagoonside Baptist, Knysna, S.A. May 28, 2017