A friend had a vivid dream recently that unpeeled the concept of mercy for him. He saw a massive amount of ants walking throughout the ages in lines going seemingly forever, and coming from places unknown. In his dream he was one of those ants, and he was in the midst of other ants gouging and beating each other (very much unlike the ants of real life), and trying to control their ‘world’ oblivious of their insignificance in the grand scheme of things.
In actuality, ants are the total opposite of dysfunctional – they spend their entire lives serving the purposes for which they were created. The point of the dream is thus not about them, but us!
Picture if you will, God in the heavens, creator of the heavens and the earth, considering and examining the almost inexplicable behavior of millions of people throughout the ages, who ‘ant-like’ in size and significance when compared to him, defy the order and purpose for which he has created them. Not only so, but that they continue despite repeated warnings to offend his love, grace and mercy.
The real ants, represent an opposite approach, though almost physically blind (they communicate through chemical smell and stridulation), do not even swerve one millimeter from the paths set out by their scouts in order to fulfill their purpose to the fullest degree. Rightly, Solomon warns us that we should take a lesson from them,
“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” Proverbs 6:6-8
Ant behavior is well documented. Ants use their differing skills; communication, and intelligence to build and protect their colonies. It is estimated that today they comprise 15-25% of the biomass of earth’s terrestrial animals (i.e. – the ants make up to 25% of the total weight of all animal and insects, et cetera, on earth). They occupy every landmass on earth with the exception of Antarctica; Greenland; Iceland, and a few deserted islands. This is an outstanding feat of community building, largely the result of operating as unified entities.
La Fontaine’s fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper, may be less about a weeping grasshopper standing before a self-righteousness ant who sits cross-armed in front of his locked and loaded storeroom door, than about a fantastic ‘ant’ strategy, that of staying focused on their community building purpose.
“Nature is full of examples in which individuals of different species cooperate with each other. Some of these interactions (mutualisms) are crucial to the persistence of the world that we know…” (Peter J. B. Slater, Jay S. Rosenblatt, Timothy J. Roper, Charles T. Snowdon, H. Jane Brockmann, Marc Naguib, Advances in the Study of Behavior – Vol. 34, Academic Press, 2004, p. 59)
However, the human specie has one sole crucial advantage over the animals – his or her understanding of God! The animals, such as the ant, might have intelligence; social order, and even astounding physical abilities, but they cannot be cognitively involved in a personal relationship with God! However, without God, the human is no different than the animals.
We might ask: so what is our great purpose?
Such an answer is only easy in that it does not need to be explained, but merely inspired.
First, only God can inspire us to see life beyond us.
Second, the future can only be sustained by his love. It is this love that gives mercy; selflessness; sacrifice; prefers others; cares for the poor; recovers us from abuse; restores what has been broken; provides safe havens for the young; engenders peaceful living even in difficult circumstances, and strengthens us to embark on eternal adventures of increasing inheritances under his loving care. Did Jesus not say, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God” (Luke 12:6). God cares for the sparrows, will he not care for you?
No one ‘deserves’ God!
God’s purpose is simple: he chooses to love us despite who we are, to say otherwise is to arrogantly think that our opinion of what we need, or do not need, is more important than God’s. God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he has loved us, even while we were dead in our sins made us alive with Jesus Christ – for by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5)!
2011 © Victory Fields
(The beliefs, conclusions, or opinions expressed within this article are entirely those of the author of this article. It is not our intention to suggest either that the authors/writers quoted, in any way agree with what we have written, or that we are expressing their full view on any of the subjects covered)