That was the siren's call luring men and women to the California gold fields from the years 1848-1853. However, the most common phrase spoken was either, “Have you saw the elephant?” (sic) or “I have seen the elephant.”
The elephant was symbolic of the high cost of their endeavor in selling everything they had for the funds to make the trip and also of leaving their families. It represented every thing that could go wrong like horrible weather, broken wagons, Indian raids, small children wandering off never to be found again, sickness, starvation, and death. But even with the high cost and everything that could go wrong, the result was still considered the most amazing experience of a lifetime.
So, if the elephant represents the high cost of an endeavor, and the innumerable possibilities of what could go wrong, but still is an adventure without equal, then EVERY PARENT has seen the elephant!
Sometimes that darned animal tromps all over the room when I go to bed. It sits on my chest in the early dawn and makes it hard to breathe.
Ever been there?
The other morning, before sunrise, I woke up with a problem on my mind that concerned one of my children. Realizing how useless it was to try to sleep, I went outside to pray. On my front porch I stared into the darkness.
Funny how loud problems can scream at you from all directions in inky blackness. There isn’t a place to focus. But then on the horizon I saw a golden razor edge split the earth from the sky. I made that my focal point as gold and pink pushed the darkness away. The cacophony of worry gave way to the song of birds. I watched as the sun rose and burned away what was left of the night. With the dawn came clarity to my problems and my hope renewed. With God nothing is impossible.
Psalm 112:4 says, “Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man (and woman)” That light can be hope, and it can also be revelation. But it only comes when our focus is on God – not the elephant.
Parenting is costly, and many things can and do go wrong. But it is also an amazing experience.
We will see the elephant, but remember, our focus must always be on God.