Picture it: A baby giraffe is born. Because the mother giraffe is so tall, he is born by falling ten feet to the ground and landing on his back. He manages to roll over and tucks his feet underneath his body. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have long to rest. After a minute passes, the mother giraffe positions herself behind him, and gives him a swift kick. Not surprisingly, her kick sends him rolling head over heels. But once is not enough. She proceeds to continually kick her newborn until he manages to stand in order to get away from her advances, but she’s not done yet. After the baby stands for the first time with his wobbly legs, the mother then kicks his feet out from under him sending him crashing down to the ground. She then repeats the process of kicking him until he is able to get up quickly and efficiently.
Dean Martin once sang a song about love entitled “Ain’t that a Kick in the Head.” If ever there was a theme song for an animal, I think the baby giraffe can claim this song as his. I can’t imagine ever kicking anyone, let alone an infant. It seems cruel for the mother giraffe to kick her baby repeatedly. Yet zoologists say the relationship between mother giraffes and their offspring are one of the more beautiful relationships in all of the wild. Giraffes are quite affectionate, not to mention protective of their children. They even go into mourning when a member of their family dies. So why in the world would such loving creatures choose to use their newborns as punching bags? In a word – love.
I know what you’re thinking. “If that’s love, count me out!” And while I wholeheartedly agree that I would prefer to not be dropkicked in order to feel loved, I have learned that there actually is a good reason for the giraffes’ behavior. When a giraffe is born, he weighs between 100-150 pounds and is six feet tall. Needless to say, it is very difficult for him to learn how to walk. In fact, even as an adult, giraffes have a difficult life because of their great height. If a giraffe can’t learn to walk quickly after he is born, he will die, especially if he lives in the wild. A number of animals would love to eat a baby giraffe. The initial kicking of the baby (also known as a calf) is to protect him and keep him from dying. But why does the mother make him fall and then repeat the process once he’s learned to stand? She wants him to remember how he got up and to teach him that when he falls in life, he should immediately get back up and try again.
Sometimes you may feel like you've been dropped on your head and then sent rolling head over heels by a kick to the backside. Maybe you’re going through one of those times now. For those of you who are, I want to encourage you to not give up. Don’t quit! Persevere through the pain and frustrations. Stand back up and try again. It’s okay if your legs are a bit wobbly like the baby giraffe’s. If you get tired and feel like you've run out of strength to keep trying, ask God to help you. The Bible tells us God will give us His strength; all we have to do is ask. One of these days you will accomplish what you’re trying so hard to do, and when that day comes, it will be even sweeter because you persevered and didn't give up.
“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” ~ Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Message)
© September 5, 2013