Elephants, Giraffes and the Glory of God

What can a giraffe do when it’s most nutritious food is out of its reach? You might wonder can anything be out of reach for a giraffe. Not by a few inches, but feet.

On a night when my mind was fried from the day’s work, all I wanted was to watch something mindless on television. Lots of mindless things there to choose from! But I settled on a new NatGeo program about wild life in the Sahara. The show focused on the giraffe’s need for water and how they have adapted to living in a place that gets a mere two inches of water every year.

Of course, the foundation for adaptation was due to evolution, but that comes with the territory of nature shows. However, I watched through another grid.

Giraffes can go up to three weeks without water, but they still need to hydrate. Part of their need comes from the morning mist that coats the many low-lying plants with some moisture. And, I thought this was a clever bit of sleuthing, they follow elephants to watering holes. Smart, very smart. But leaves and dew drops aren’t enough for these huge creatures. They also need protein. But they are not carnivores.

The challenge is that the protein they need is literally out of their reach. They get this protein from peapod like clusters hanging from a tree that is above their reach. Not only that, but the pods are also filled with moisture for their thirst.

Solution? Call in the elephant to help.

Elephants come to these trees and use their heads and body weight to shake the pods lose from their stems so they fall to the ground. Then the dinner bell sounds and giraffes and other Saharan animals, along with the elephants, take as much as they need. When it’s elephant feeding time in the desert, it’s a feast for all.

This got me thinking about God’s glory revealed in this interchange of animals in his creation. God owns them all and takes the responsibility for feeding them all from his hand: “You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Ps 145:16). “It is God who directs the lives of his creatures; everyone’s life is in his power” (Job 12:10).

I’ve often wondered, but quickly quit, about what it takes to feed all living things on the planet in a single day. Massive job. But God does it, day in and day out – and we are included in that supply.

So, to feed the giraffe, God calls on the elephant to help out. As I watched, I imagined God speaking to the elephant and telling him it’s time for lunch and he is God’s “chef” to go to work providing food for the chow line.

How glorious is that? God opens his hand and provides food for all his living creatures. Give thanks over your MacDonald’s lunch today!

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