Sometimes you know God is really serious about getting someone’s attention because he calls in the big guns. God was serious about my friend in Zimbabwe.
He’s the most delightful person. So full of laughter and infectious joy. There’s a hilarity about him…and now that I know his story, it seems God dealt hilariously with him. You should hear him laugh to talk about his testimony. I hope to be able to share the video of his story soon… but in a nutshell, after he’d come to Jesus (itself quite a story), he drifted away and fell back into drugs and alcohol, etc.
One night he and some friends were staying in a hotel and he knew he couldn’t get the drugs into the hotel, so he decided to stash them in a cave he saw just nearby. He walked to the cave and attempted to stash the drugs, only to find it wasn’t a cave. It was an elephant. He tried to hide his drugs in an elephant! Surrrrprrrrrise!
I don’t think he’s sure what it was that threw him, but whether it was an angel or the elephant’s trunk, he promptly found himself hurled through space quite a distance (he leans toward an angel, because elephants don’t hurl, they slam you straight down into the ground). To the best I can tell, and he can remember, he landed running – and he ran and ran… until he slipped and fell down a hill and came to a rest on a huge fallen down tree.
He began to look for his friends. They too had run at the sight of the elephant and ended up sliding down the hill and sitting, spread far apart, on the same felled tree that Douglas was on. As they found each other, made sure they were all OK, they began to hear a sound. A sound you don’t want to hear unless you are safely at a zoo. A lion was eating a buffalo and they had gotten too close. The lion began to roar – a warning sign that he was going to protect his food, and these men were a threat. They carefully, quietly began to back away. And then they ran..and ran… again.
My friend never went back to drugs after that.
Oh my goodness – how we have both laughed over his story. God brought in two of the big 5 in one night to get his attention – can you imagine??? He brought in the big guns to get Douglas’ attention.
That lion had his catch and he would have defended it fiercely. He wasn’t going to let any man take his prey from him. It struck me that that was how God was with Douglas. Douglas was His, but drugs and things of the world were threatening to steal Douglas away, and God roared. God was jealous for Douglas. So jealous he used an elephant and a lion to protect his heart. He had won Douglas on the cross, and he wasn’t going to let anything take him away. So he brought in the big guns, and did so with such a sense of humor it just suits Douglas. Knowing him, it surprises me none to know his testimony was so wild and so comical, and yet so serious.
I love the phrase “Trophy of Grace” – surely Douglas is a trophy in God’s trophy cabinet, a testimony of God’s grace. Douglas’ story gives me hope and encouragement for friends of mine who are the Lords, but who the world is threatening to steal away. The Lord is a lion. He is fiercely protective of what is His, those hearts He won on the cross. Those are his trophies, and He desires that they glorify Him, free from tarnish…and I’m encouraged to know He is more than willing to bring in the big guns, or the big 5 as the case requires, to protect what is His.
Isaiah 31:1-5 (emphasis mine)
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
and rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
or consult the Lord!
2 And yet he is wise and brings disaster;
he does not call back his words,
but will arise against the house of the evildoers
and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.
3 The Egyptians are man, and not God,
and their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out his hand,
the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall,
and they will all perish together.
4 For thus the Lord said to me,
“As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey,
and when a band of shepherds is called out against him
he is not terrified by their shouting
or daunted at their noise,
so the Lord of hosts will come down
to fight[a] on Mount Zion and on its hill.
5 Like birds hovering, so the Lord of hosts
will protect Jerusalem;
he will protect and deliver it;
he will spare and rescue it.”
To read a few more thoughts from Douglas’ testimony, click here.