Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Yesterday, we looked at some of the creatures in God's creation who probably cannot help but to think, I wasn't made for this. Including, of course, men, whose burdens often seem too great to bear. 

And the thing is that we look at some of these creatures, and we think, gosh, they must be strong. It must be some super act of strength that makes them able to do what they do, even when it doesn't seem possible. The ant, for example. The ant carries morsels ten, fifty, one hundred times its body weight in order both to build its home and to supply its food. And even in the fables, we are told that the ant is wise, gathering food all year and storing it up so that it doesn't have to go out in inclement weather. Surely, the ant is both wise and strong. 

But the Bible tells us differently. "Ants are not a strong species," Proverbs 30:25 says. They're not? Really? If the Bible says it, however, it must be true. Ants are not a strong species. 

Ants have, however, figured out how to maximize their meager strengths. They have figured out how to carry their loads, not by sheer force but by proper balance. Aha! You see, the ant doesn't carry the weight of a giant morsel by mere might alone. He has figured out how to hoist it onto his shoulders and balance it just right so that it neither crushes him nor causes him to stumble. He walks confidently toward home, not because the burden is light, but because it is balanced. He is steady in his steps not because he is sure of his strength, but because he is confident in his entire constitution. It takes everything in him to carry the load, but when he puts his everything into it, it's not so bad after all.

Or what about the butterfly? There comes a day when the caterpillar has to break out of his cocoon, but then we look at the fragile wings of the butterfly and wonder how that's even possible. How can something that seems so delicate come through such a seemingly-hard place? But the answer is in what the butterfly has learned about its own meager strength. When building his cocoon, he wraps himself tightly enough that he is safe, but not so tightly that he is trapped.

Think about something like the cricket or the grasshopper. They have such thin-looking legs, but have you ever seen them leap? They've figured out how to shift their weight to maximize their leverage. It's not that their legs simply propel them that far; it's the entire motion of jumping. It takes everything they've got to do it well, but when they give it everything they've got, how majestic! 

I'm not sure why all of my examples thus far have been insect-related. I certainly don't have much of an appreciation for bugs, although I do appreciate the beautiful handiwork of God in their special design. (Just stay out of my house, okay?) But the truth is that we could say almost the same thing about nearly anything in God's design.

The clouds know how to hold their raindrops, but they know, too, how to release them. They are nothing but vapor, but powerful enough to ruin a bright day. The flowers spend their whole life reaching toward the sun, only to open and bear tender petals that must then stand against wind, rain, hail, and hungry animals. The earth is essentially nothing on its own, but under the balanced force of gravity that keeps its whole weight within its orbit, it's this amazing place where life is possible.

All of these things that don't seem possible are perfectly orchestrated and totally amazing. It just takes everything that everything's got in order to pull off these incredible feats. The ant has to use its whole self; the caterpillar, its whole self; the cricket or the grasshopper, its whole weight. Nothing in creation can rely on only part of itself to do anything at all; it takes everything. 

And even though it's easy to look at these creatures that are doing all of these things that it doesn't seem they were made for, things that look too hard for creatures that look so fragile, the truth is: they make it look easy. They make it look easy because it's exactly what they were created for. 

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