I was riding bareback on an Asian elephant in Chiang Mai, Thailand, perched nearly 10 feet above the ground as we lumbered down a muddy hillside to the river where he and the rest of the elephants would receive a bath from their grateful passengers. My arms could barely span its massive neck and shoulders and its thick and protective hide seemed impenetrable. Yet, with only a slight nudge of my knees, the elephant immediately responded and changed direction.
My puerile stereotypes of this noble animal melted away as I bonded with my new companion. Elephants are afraid of mice, are unable to resist peanuts, and will someday leave their herd to die in a secret elephant’s graveyard. All of these are patently false. One additional stereotype is the adage that an elephant never forgets, but to my surprise, this was a fact. Scientists have conclusively demonstrated that elephants have a remarkable memory, able to identify as many as 30 different scents of urine from other elephants. One well-documented story from an elephant sanctuary documents their resident elephant becoming very excited when a new elephant arrived. After further research, the scientists discovered the two elephants had briefly worked together for a few months, twenty-two years earlier!
Unlike the elephant, my aging brain is becoming increasingly forgetful. A senior moment is becoming an all too frequent phrase. It is a reminder that I must actively work to remember and preserve fond memories. Thanks be to God that He never forgets, even when I do. Throughout the Bible, He repeats His promises to love and care for us, with a love even stronger than a mother’s love for her own child. He surrounds me with His grace and mercy, to always remind me that He walks with me, making my path straight and protecting me from danger.
Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.
Isaiah 49:15 (ESV)
My elephant companion gave me an unforgettable adventure. I hope someday I will be able to return and he would remember our encounter with as fond memories as I do. After all, elephants never forget.
And neither does God.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.