Lessons From an Ant

In the words of that popular radio broadcaster, Garrison Keillor, in his weekly series,  ”It’s been a quiet week here at Lake Woebegone”.

Today is Mother’s Day, and we have been magnificently lauded and honored by our children, their spouses and the grandkids. It was a red letter day for Tony, who enjoyed the Beef Bourguignon that our daughter had lovingly made and brought down for the occasion. This was to be his first taste of meat in six months, having stuck to an incredibly strict cancer-inhibiting diet during treatment. The daily laser light sword, as he calls it, will conclude in ten days, and he figures that’s close enough. Not sure how his body is going to react, but he went back for seconds. “Whatever happens, it was worth it!” he insisted.

For those of you on the other side of the world, your Sunday may be just beginning, so I hope you experience some extra love like we did, even if it has to be at a distance.
Keeping my own distance, I try to start every morning with some time on the treadmill, and to fend off boredom have been listening to everything from Michael W. Smith to Ravi Zacharias. This week has been Corrie Ten Boom, that legendary Dutch girl who ended up in the prison camps because her family was sheltering Jews.

Something that stood out in her testimony was her telling of being placed in solitary confinement. “Oh, I can identify with that!” I thought, what with the CoVid19 isolation restrictions we’re going through now. Well…

In Corrie’s case, she arrived at the prison camp with a case of the sniffles, and the Nazis didn’t want the people they were getting ready to kill to get sick, so off to solitary she went. Come to think of it, that might have been God’s protection.
Eventually, word reached her that her father had been gassed, as well as several others that she knew, and she had to grieve by herself.  The days drug on and on, and she realized all too painfully that, in every way, she was completely alone for the first time in her life. Corrie had been raised in a very active family, which had become even more so as escaping Jews had come into their home to hide from the Nazis.
Conversing with God was nothing new to the young girl, and in the absence of every other form of stimulation, her daily time with her Creator was precious. It was a glorious experience, to be sure, but she admitted that there were times when all she could do was cry and tell God that she was losing her mind. “I’m so alone!” she called out one morning, and as she spoke she noticed an ant crawling across the floor.  Her first reaction was to prevent the creature from invading her personal space, giving it a gentle flick with her handkerchief.

Frightened at this unexpected interruption, the ant scurried away and disappeared into a crack in the wall. Almost immediately, Corrie  felt God’s voice in her mind saying, “See? You’re not alone, and just like him, you too have a ‘hiding place’. I am there.”

Forty years later as she recalled that day, Corrie Ten Boom wrote this simple poem:

“When you look around, you’re distressed.
When you look inside, you’re depressed.
When you look to God, you’re at rest!”

Yeah, this time of isolation is the pits, especially for an “otter” like me. But thanks to this wonderfully blessed Dutch girl from a couple of generations ago, I can still put things into perspective. “Distressed. Depressed. At rest!”

Thank you, God, for this time of enforced rest and removal from just about everything I used to deem “essential”. What I really need today, I have, filled and overflowing:

The love of family. Both a history and a future. Most importantly, a “hiding place” that’s never any farther than my thoughts of Him.
Whatever lies ahead for you today, I pray that it will be full of joy, hope and a bit of something you never knew before.


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