Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ants and having no fear of bad news

The pest control man stood in my kitchen nodding his head as I complained.

“And they come out of those cracks around the sink and cover the counter. You can’t even leave one crumb or they are all over it. They get in everything.”

Ants. We’d battled them for weeks and finally had to call the professionals. Those little black varmints had just about pushed me over the edge.

The pest control man listened and said with sincerity, “We’ll take care of it, Ma’am.”
"Ant on mosshill". Licensed under GNU Free Documentation License 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ant_on_mosshill.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Ant_on_mosshill.jpg

However, he wouldn’t know until some time later what he was really dealing with. Turns out, these pest control folks had to push past anything they’d ever done before to get rid of our ant colony. In fact, the difficulty of our case caused it to be a presentation at a national pest control conference. The infestation was so far reaching, they even had to put bait in our mailbox.

That was years ago. We’ve been relatively ant free for many years, but if even one crawls out, I call the professionals. I’ve seen what ants can do.

That experience still gives me new insight each time I read this verse, “There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer . . .” (Proverbs 30:25-26).

Ants may be small, but they have a lot going on.

Motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, even has something he calls his “ant philosophy” which includes four steps. The first is ants never quit. I know that well enough. They are the most persistent little critters I’ve ever seen. At one point, I thought we might just move out of the house and let them have it. Next, ants think about winter all summer. In other words, they’re preparers, laying away for another time. But ants also think about summer all winter. They know that tough times won’t last and on any sunny day in winter, they’re out scurrying around and then back in the hole to wait for spring. Last of all, ants do all they can. You’ve seen them carrying far more than their weight back to the colony.

To sum it up, ants prepare. In the original Hebrew, the word used for prepare in Proverbs 30:25 shows up in another verse translated a different way. But I think the ants give us insight into the meaning of this verse: “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm 112:7). As you can see the word prepare does not show up here, but if you look at the word steadfast, you find it is indeed the same word as prepare.

As I’ve sometimes cringed when I click on a news summary in my inbox, and dreaded to see the words pandemic, terrorist, or war, I’ve given thought on not having any fear of bad news. Psalm 112:7 says those whose hearts are steadfast have no fear of bad news. Ants prepare by their persistence, as we should persist in our devotion to God by spending time with Him, meditating, and studying His word. If I experience fear, that may say something about my lack of trust in God or my lack of intimacy with God, for the ones who have no fear of bad news are those who are prepared for it, whose minds and hearts are steeped in the word of God and who know him intimately.

Remember that ants know winter doesn’t last forever.

And we know that God always has the last word, no matter what the news report says.

So, the next time you see an ant, be thankful for what they teach us about being fearless in the face of bad news.

I have to tell you, though; I’ve seen enough ants in person to hold me for a while. The picture above is good enough for me.

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