I have anthills in my yard. I enjoy making mesas out of their mounds by running over them with the lawnmower or crushing with one step what took them hours to build.
But as soon as I destroy their work, they immediately begin to rebuild. And they do it together.
My favorite comic strip of yesteryear, “Calvin & Hobbes,” shows Calvin standing by an anthill shouting,
Hey ant, you’re working like a maniac and what have you got to show for it? What’s the colony done for you lately? What about your needs? You don’t owe anybody anything! Let the others fend for themselves! Move out! Discover yourself! Express your individuality!
The last frame shows Calvin grinning and saying, “If they listen, this should solve our ant problem.”
The Bible also points us to the ant to learn a lesson that will help our lives.
If knowing yourself and being yourself were as easy to do as to talk about, there wouldn’t be nearly so many people walking around in borrowed postures, spouting secondhand ideas, trying desperately to fit in rather than to stand out.
I have owned four Labradors over the years. Every one of them had dreams. Most of these dog dreams looked violent, even nightmarish.
Muscles jerking, lips twitching, teeth bared, paws running, barking, growling—they look like some Freudian alter ego quivering on the living room floor.
(Photo by Eugene0126jp. Own work, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
I’m convinced that if I would connect their tails to a 220-volt cable and turn on the juice, they would not have convulsed more violently.
On one occasion I literally thought our dog Rayah was having a seizure, so I touched her. She stopped convulsing, looked up at me, took a deep breath, and closed her glassy eyes again. Just a dream. No wonder Labradors snooze twelve to eighteen hours a day. They need rest from all that exhausting sleep! (Our current Lab snores louder than any human I’ve heard.)
I have often wondered what our dogs dream. I mean, all they know of the world comes from the backyard. What could be so exciting?
A dog’s dreams are frequent and violent, therefore comical—and insignificant.
Our own dreams, however, get more attention. But should they?
Most days it seems we never have enough. Between the bills, the home upkeep, and the car repairs, it’s tough just to stay afloat. Often, amazingly, God rigs it this way.
This tension is nothing new for a people who believe God will provide. In fact, an unusual custom gives insight into why we are means seem so meager.
After settling in the Promised Land, God allowed His people to work the land. But every seventh year, God said, “the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord” (Lev. 25:4) and lie fallow.
- This Sabbatical Year allowed for the forgiveness of all debts, and any food that grew went to the poor and to the wild animals.
- Then every 50 years, on the year of Jubilee, the land not only rested but also returned to its ancestral owners. And all slaves walked free.
- However, in 586 B.C., after God’s people failed to observe the Sabbatical Year for 490 years, God exiled them for the 70 special years they failed to give the land (2 Chron. 36:20-21).
All this was to show that the land belonged to God, not to those who lived on it (Lev. 25:23). Although they worked the land, they believed God will provide, and He made them stop working to prove He would. For even when they rested, God supplied (Ps. 127:2).
Here’s why the same is true for us.
Sometimes God takes you the long way. And honestly? It’s tough to hang on when the direct route makes so much more sense. We’re all about efficiency. But God has a different destination in mind.
Strange, but this seems to be the Lord’s standard procedure. Take the exodus, for starters.
(Photo by Bill Nicholls. CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
The nation of Israel began their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land by promptly turning away from it.
Rather than take the shorter, coastal route to Canaan, God directed Israel southeast toward the Red Sea. The direct route led through the land of the Philistines, and while God could have simply destroyed the enemy (as He would at the Red Sea), His concern lay more with the unprepared and fearful hearts of His people (Exod. 13:17-18).
So God took them the long way. And it seemed pointless. But was it?
The question we all face is not whether or not we have defects. We do. Every one of us. The question is whether we are capable of envisioning a life defined by forces greater than the weight of our flaws.
Your marriage is like the Death Star. Oh, I don’t mean it’s a large instrument of destruction and devastation. It’s something else. See if you can spot it in this clip.
Did you see it? Perhaps this quote by Plato will help:
The life of the nation is the life of the family written large. —Plato
Still stumped? The foundation of a nation is the family, and the foundation of the family is the marriage. If you can destroy marriage, you have begun a chain reaction that will dissolve the family, and eventually, the nation.
The key word is vulnerability.
Here’s how your marriage is like the Death Star—and more importantly, how you can protect it from what makes it vulnerable.
Most of us use Google Maps to find directions or to estimate the time a trip will take. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what the site can do.
(Take a Virtual Tour of Jerusalem Using Google Maps)
The handy Web site also allows us to take virtual tour of Jerusalem. Obviously, you can sight-see anywhere in the world using this method. But Jerusalem offers unique benefits for Christians.
I suggest as a starting place searching for “Temple Mount, Jerusalem” in Google Maps. When you do, you’re screen will look something like this:
Abraham Lincoln on the importance of preparation.
Years ago as a little boy, I found this old framed postcard in an abandoned box in my grandmother’s garage. I keep the frame on my desk and look at it often.
Lincoln’s birthday always reminds me of Lincoln’s statement about the importance of preparation:
I’ll study and be ready and maybe the chance will come.
It started when we were kids. We still deal with it in today. We fail to receive love, and we drag bruised emotions behind us for years, still aching for affirmation.
Before we know it, our attitude becomes: “Who will make me feel good today?” Oh, we won’t say that, but we seek it. The result? We get to feeling depressed.
It’s not only relationships that challenge our joy. I remember reading about a woman who suffered from a disease of chronic fatigue. She decided to perform on herself the ancient procedure of trepanning—the cutting away a section of the scalp and drilling into the skull. After the operation she made a statement.
I was prone to occasional bouts of depression and felt something radical needed to be done.
When you’re feeling depressed—for whatever reason—and you need to do something, here’s what you can do.
And what you should never do.