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No Giraffes  

Spiky branches thwacked at the edges of our trail as we rolled deeper into the thicket. An emerald canopy overhead created a cooling air pocket as the tractor-pulled wagon groaned at every jolt on the rooted path.

It might have been a safari. Except this was northern Illinois. Nevertheless, two-year-old Emma kept her eyes open for any possible animal sightings. Upon her return from the would-be rain forest, where she missed nothing, she announced, "I saw squirrels and turkeys. But no giraffe." She seemed genuinely disappointed.

Given the density of the woods and Emma’s less-than-1000-days-of-life perspective, it’s not unreasonable that she expected to see a real jungle animal. Alas, apart from a few zoos, there are no giraffes in Illinois.

But what would you think if, instead of Emma, it was me looking for giraffes? If I persisted at such silliness, you’d question my competence.

Yet isn’t that the mistake so many of us make as we process personal trials and troubles? We’re looking for a life filled with cuddly long-lashed giraffes.  We anticipate Disney World rather than the real world. But just as Illinois isn't a jungle, this earth isn't heaven!

Job declared, “For man is born for trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” Paul’s sober promise is that “All who want to live in a godly way in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Jesus assured us, "In the world, you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

That’s not to say that our Christian lives will be nothing more than a bleak canvas filled with hopeless hues of gray. There is joy in serving Jesus!  We’re to encourage one another with the expectation of Christ’s return.

As for trouble on the trail? Let’s keep it all in perspective.  And—don’t expect any giraffes.

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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Jon Gauger Media 2016