By Jennifer Mobbs
I love animals; all kinds, dogs, cats, lions, giraffes, and especially elephants, which makes the Biblical story of the naming of the animals one of my favorite. The Bible tells us in Genesis 2:18-19, that God brought all the animals to Adam to see what he would name them and whatever he called each animal, that was its name. I have imagined this scene in my mind so many times. I can see God and Adam in the Garden of Eden, God standing beside Adam as each animal walks up to him, Adam intently looks it over and in wonder and awe says, “this animal shall be called an Elephant” and looking up, God would nod His approval and the Elephant would bow and the next animal would come and stand in front of Adam, waiting to hear its name. We have so many unique and wonderful animals and each name for each one is absolutely perfect.
I recently read a story about an Elephant named Billie. Billie was taken from the wild in 1962 when she was very young and sold to a company that leased her out to Circuses to be trained to perform. Then, in 1993, after performing for more than twenty years Billie was declared dangerous because she had showed aggression toward her Trainers. She was removed from the Circus and spent the next 13 years confined to a 20 X 20 Stall with a chain around her ankle. Finally, at the age of 44 years old, Billie was released to an Elephant Sanctuary that allowed her freedom to roam no longer confined, no longer chained. Billie’s new Keepers attempted to remove her ankle chain, but Billie refused, concerned about her past the Keepers decided the best option was to wait, eventually they would earn her trust and be able to remove the chain. Over the next five years Billie flourished at the Sanctuary, developing deep bonds with the other Elephants and the Keepers, who reported that Billie showed no signs of aggression toward them. She loved swimming in the many ponds, forging through the thick forests in summer and sleeping on a bed hay in the heated barns in the winter. Finally, after five years of freedom during a routine health exam Billie lifted her foot for the Keeper and allowed him to cut off her ankle chain.
At first, she picked up the chain with her trunk and for a moment everyone held their breath waiting to see what she would do, she seemed to examined the chain and then dropped it on the ground, and went back to munching on her special treat of sweet potatoes.
Looking at the picture of Billie without the chain around her ankle I thought isn’t this just like us.
God rescued us from the World though the blood of Jesus Christ and in Him we have Freedom. He has given us Free Will waiting for us to learn that we can trust Him no matter what. Yet, we often are holding on to hurts from the past or sins we cannot seem to break free from, we still have one foot in the World. God is ready to cut that chain off our hearts, our minds. But we must be willing to let Him.
Billie the Elephants journey to Freedom was not complete until the ankle chain of her past was removed by the Keeper she trusted the most. Take the chance today and let Jesus remove your chains.
I have been writing all my life, I just didn’t realize it until I was my late 40’s. I hope my experiences can help others who have gone through similar trials.