Last week, we were reminded of this great African proverb by our partner in Cameroon, which has been suffering with conflict for more than four years now: When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. Another way to put it is that the powerless suffer the most when the powerful struggle.
Of late, in Discipling Marketplace Leaders, some of our partners and the communities they live in have been the grass, suffering under the fight of the elephants. Countries like Nigeria, Cameroon, and Burkina Faso, in particular, continue to witness the fighting of elephants.
Sometimes the elephants are the politicians and political parties. Sometimes they are ethnic groups or tribes. Sometimes they are the police and those with power and authority. Sometimes it is “rebel” groups, seeking for equality in jobs and education. Sometimes it is greedy people, kidnapping at random for ransom money. Sometimes it is a virus and the people who care more about their rights of freedom than loving their neighbor by practicing safety health measures.
Sometimes the grass is killed. Sometimes the grass is damaged. Sometimes the grass is injured but the injuries are internal and unseen.
Always, the fight produces stress. The fight imprints on hearts, souls, and minds. If the fight is short, the impact is not long-lived. If the fight is long, the impact goes deep.
The powerless suffer the most when the powerful struggle.
The only way through some of these things is prayer. We continue to pray three times a week for one hour with our partners. God is knitting us together in a way that is teaching us to pray in one accord. Additionally, many of our partners have been holding prayer walks and “Work as Worship” retreats in the last few weeks.
Here is the “Work as Worship” retreat and prayer walk schedule for Hopeline Institute, in Northern Ghana, which is about 90% Muslim. Their theme is “Prayer moves mountains.” Please pray along with us for both the powerless and the powerful…for both the grass and the elephants. And more than anything, please pray for the peace that comes through the flourishing of all God’s people and His creation.