Sunday, July 11, 2010

Go To The Ant

I love it when God surprises me! He has so much to show us if we would just stop and look and listen. Here are some thoughts I was writing in my journal and the story of how God interrupted my melancholic musings.

God is not into small-minded ventures and small dreams. He is not into comfort. He is interested in my character, my growth, and my surrender. I cannot grow unless I make choices that are out of my league, accept tasks that are beyond my strength, leave safe harbor to sail for deep waters where I shall have no other rock on which to fall, but God. My life will never be marked by greatness if I only take on what I can handle.

A little ant has skittered onto my beach towel as I am writing out in the sun. The tiny creature drags a dead bug three times its size. The folds and humps in my towel become hills and valleys as the ant maneuvers its way across. Pulling its burden over each ridge with incredible strength, and often tumbling top over bottom down the other side, it forges ahead, undaunted. From my vantage point, his mini-sized world is comical. Yet when I try to envision myself in his "shoes", the road ahead looks terribly daunting and his task seems insurmountable. Running up the steep cliff that is my journal, and then up the even higher face of my Bible, he hurries on. His strength and resilience amaze me as he presses forward, going who knows where. Somewhere in the middle of my towel, the ant drops his load and scurries away. Disappointed, I ask him, Are you just going to leave it there? No, I decide that he is trying to regain his sense of direction and determine the most logical path out of this foreign pink desert and back to the grass. At last, he returns to retrieve his prize. This drop, search, return, pick up, drop, search, return continues for many long minutes. Fascinated by his struggle, I watch, how long I do not know. I am entranced by this miniature example Father has given me. At long last, my subject finds his way over a far edge of my towel and hits familiar ground. But if I thought his way seemed fraught with difficulties over towel little I knew! Now my friend must maneuver his unwieldy burden through a veritable jungle of tangled blades, which reach up to ten, fifteen, twenty times his length in height! Everywhere, obstacles block his path and stop the advance of his cumbersome baggage. It becomes stuck between blades; the ant tugs from every angle, to no avail. Again he is forced to walk away, going where? To call reinforcements? To see if he might discover some path where he may pass through with less hindrance? Will he return? For the longest time I wait, keeping an eye on the marooned cargo, anxious to see if my little friend will continue in this task which is beyond his strength. Look! He returns! And then disappears again. Then again reappearing, if it is indeed he. Finally he manages to budge the load a bit more. Then again I lose sight of him. I haven't the time to wait for the end of the story. Where is my friend's home? How far has he traveled with this burden? How far does he have yet to go? Will he make it? Will he persevere, though it take him all day and all night? Only Father knows the answers. He is the one who gave the ant such strength, courage, and determination. He sees the big picture of my world and the path on which I walk far better than I can see that of the ant. He knows the task to which He has called me is beyond my strength and ability to accomplish. He alone knows what following Him will cost me; He alone can give me the grace to accomplish it, and He alone sees the end from the beginning. The question I must ask myself is this: Will I trust Him enough to give Him everything? To throw all that I am into loving God and following His Word just as that ant throws all he is into the means of bringing his prize all the way home?

As I lingered, I discovered that my ant friend had eventually managed to move his booty and had found a way to drag it with relative ease over the tops of the blades of grass. I watched him for some time longer, sometimes falling down into the jungle and later reappearing in the tops again. He was moving much faster now and eventually disappeared from my line of sight. I will never know if he reached his home successfully, but I have little doubt that he did or he died trying. I don't think God requires us to be successful or even to accomplish a vision. He will accomplish what He has ordained with or without us. All He desires is that you and I live and die for Him. "Go the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise." Proverbs 6:6 Oh Lord, for the wisdom of the ant, I beg You!