by BCBP Editor

This very intriguing question and its very inspiring answer contributed by Dette Joven, BCBP Calamba, encourage us to ask ourselves: What is MY elephant? In your action group, read aloud this short story and then have each member reflect on their personal elephant and how are they going to consume it (or are they letting the elephant consume them?).

How Do You Eat An Elephant?
By Tony Agnesi

Most of the people I see who are incarcerated in local jails have one thing in common, drug and alcohol abuse. No matter what crime they have committed, the underlying problem is usually drugs or alcohol or both.

Whenever I speak to a group in jail, I like to ask a silly question.

“How do you eat an elephant?” I’ll exclaim. After a few weird looks, a long moment of silence, and a few muffled laughs, I’ll answer my own question.

“One bite at a time, one forkful at a time, or spoonful at a time!” I offer.

After a few more seconds of silence, I’ll ask one of the inmates, “What is your elephant?”

“Heroin,” he’ll reply with an embarrassing look on his face.

“And how are you going to eat this elephant?” I probe.

Then, as if a light bulb appears above his head, he replies, “One day at a time!”

“You’ve got it!” I’ll excitedly confirm. “You win the battle against drugs one day at a time. For some, it’s more difficult, it’s one hour at a time, or one minute at a time. And, you can’t do it alone. You need a higher power, God, to help you.”

You know the same holds true for all of us. We all face our own personal elephants! Sickness, disease, a bad marriage, financial difficulties, a job loss, all seems like problems that are too big for us to handle.

Truthfully, if we try to beat them ourselves, they are! But with God’s help, we can break down these challenges into bite size forkfuls. The Holy Spirit will guide us if we call upon His help. In the Bible, it says:

No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

This verse doesn’t mean we won’t have problems, but it does say that if you remain faithful, as God is faithful, he will provide you a way out so that the problem will be bearable. Not alone, but with God’s help, this is possible.

Let me ask you, “What is your elephant?”

Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen today, that you and I together, can’t handle.” Amen.

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