My dad passed down to me a love for nature. I am very moved by what goes on beyond my window, that natural world where life is teeming and the order of relationship is much the same as when God first spoke it all into existence (or at least how I imagine it was). Last night, the sky promised a spectacular sunset, and the air was mild and inviting. I set out on my own for a dusk walk through the property, and to embrace the quiet.
I visited my favorite spot, a secluded area completely surrounded by old trees and brush which give it the feeling of a sanctuary. I snapped a bunch of pics of different wildflowers that are blooming now (their never-ending variety amazes me) and then I walked out to the highest spot on the property to watch the sky change. On my way up, thankfully, I looked down, just as I was about to step into a big bed of fire ants.
Fire ants are part of the package where we live. We try to stay on top of the ones closer to the house and barn, but there is just so much you can do. I stood there for a minute, watching them move in their frenetic way, hundreds marching back and forth, to and fro. One thing that has always fascinated me is how they can carry so much more in weight than what they actually weigh. I saw a pretty good sized dirt clod move and realized that an ant was under it, but it wasn’t going anywhere. Apparently I’d actually stepped on part of the bed after all, and caught the back end of the ant. Just as both the ant and I were about to give up on him going anywhere, another ant went straight to the injured one, took on their load, and kept moving toward the destination.
The fact that an ant carried a large load is not the point. That I expected. But I had never seen an ant notice the plight of another and take on their burden. It was certainly food for thought.
After I got ready for bed, I decided to read for a while. A Facebook message notification popped up, on my iPad, from an old friend, asking if I accepted prayer requests, with a little ‘lol’ out to the side. 🙂 It seemed that between several important people in her life, and the illness and suffering they were enduring, she was all but beaten down herself. She said she needed a “boost of faith,” and I thought about that ant.
All around us are people who have been crushed under the weight of their burdens. We are only human, after all. We tire out and become weak. The burdens become too much to carry, and unless someone comes along and carries them for us for a while, we might just stop dead in our tracks, faith in the dust, and not move another inch. I’m grateful that we have the power to relieve those people of a burden or three by carrying them on to their destination…the very feet of the Only One who has control over any of it. I’m also grateful we have the power to do this, because I might be the one crushed there on the road one day.
Prayer changes things, folks. It’s the leverage that makes carrying such heavy weight possible. Whose burdens can you bear today…or to whom can you reach out if you are the one whose faith is pinned to the dirt? Together, we can pull it out and brush it off…together we can give those burdens the ol’ heave-ho.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NIV
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.” Ecclesiastes 4:9 ESV
“When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” Matthew 18:19-20 MSG