A number of years back, I took a vacation with my family to visit my sister in Africa. As a part of that vacation, we went on a safari and had the privilege of seeing a number of different animals. While they were all amazing to see that close, they were also very intimidating. Lets just say that the majority of all the animals we saw could have decided they didn’t like us at any moment. We would have been in big trouble.
We came up on a group of elephants during this trip and our guide gave us a quick piece of advice. He told us that no matter what happened, to stay behind him all in a group. Now this was partly because he had the only gun in the group, but he obviously didn’t want to use it. He explained to us that if we stood our ground as one large group, and didn’t run that the elephant wouldn’t bother us. If we decided to break apart and run, the elephant would charge.
As I think about this, I realized that a lot of animals do this as well.
Tuna do it in the ocean to look like something bigger so a larger fish won’t eat them. Power in numbers is important for survival as well as community. Jesus was no different. As soon as He started His ministry, He gathered a group of 12 to be next to Him and spread His ministry further than He could on his own.
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Ultimately the church is built around this entire principle. He counted on them even though they continued to leave him during his biggest struggles (fell asleep on Him when they were asked to stay away and keep watch (Mark 14:37), Peter denied Him 3 times (John 18)).
You may have a bad experience in church, small groups, friend groups, family, or any other group that exists to make you better. The option of just not being in a group anymore, is not an acceptable option. As soon as you run from the group, its much easier for the enemy to charge and attack you.
I would encourage you to seek out a group and grow that area of your life if it isn’t already prevalent.
If you think, “I can’t do that again, the last group I was in hurt me too bad,” or it was a terrible experience, just remember that as soon as Jesus rose from the dead, He went back immediately to those that betrayed Him. Forgiveness is key here, and so is the old adage of “getting back on the horse.”
Power in numbers not only scares off the elephant, it strengthens you individually and lets you help those in your group as well.
So go find your group of people before you find yourself in front of an elephant with no protection.