Growing up in a rural area has its fun and uniqueness which I miss a lot these days. The closeness to nature including through subsistence farming, gardening, regular interaction with fellow villagers, storytelling and a host of other simple but interesting features that make the peaceful and tranquil atmosphere of rural Africa such a refreshing experience. The other side of it is exposure to the peril of snakes, scorpions, insect bites and the like. One of the very unpleasant ones I had to suffer regularly was that of the ant. Stinging so terribly, those tiny creatures in their varieties can create enormous discomfort. Falling victim to them repeatedly as a child, I just couldn’t wait to grow up to the place where like my parents, such occurrences would become a rarity.
As a young teenage Christian who was advised to read portions of proverbs daily, I found Proverbs 6.6-8 quite intriguing as the lazy is asked to learn from the ant. It rekindled my childhood fascination for the tiny creatures who wrecked havocs on my happiness many times and watched them to find parallels with the claims of scripture. The ability of the ant as tiny as it is to accomplish massive things remains the most inspiring for me. Growing up in the North central savannah region of Nigeria meant sighting massive ant hills, some of which were much taller than I was. How tiny creatures built mighty fortresses remains an amazement. That resonated with the keynote of Holy Ghost Caucus (a small fellowship of young Christian’s) that I belonged to, which was 1 John 4.4, ‘Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world’. Smith Wigglesworth used to say on the basis of this verse ‘I am 10,000 times bigger on the inside than on the outside’. Truly speaking, with the life of Christ within us, we can live supernaturally and accomplish much than we can naturally.
I love the courage of the ant, the sense of ‘dare’. The boldness to try the impossible, do the unthinkable and attempt the unimaginable is so inspiring. Experience has taught me that when positive ideas come and persistently remain upon the heart, God is often making miracle offers which if embraced against all odds are the beginning of Miracles.
In the absence of a prince, Governor or ruler, they work hard to gather their food in summer against the winter. This speaks to the possession of self-motivation, drive and initiative by ants. Valuable employees and employers of exceptional impact are people who are compelled by passion fuelled by vision, to accomplish the extraordinary. No employer wants an employee who just always wants to be micromanaged and tele guided. The ability to work with minimal supervision makes such a valuable staff difficult to lose.
The diligence of the ant is such a pleasure to behold. Watching them strive to carry bigger substances than their own frame is amazing. When unable to do so, they go around in ‘ant’ language, inviting comrades to come and join them in dragging what is often a food item or a building material for the ant hill. How wise that we learn to partner and network with others to achieve our goals rather than moan our deficiencies and throw in the towel. What we can not handle alone in prayer and spiritual warfare will come within our capacity when two or three agree in prayer on earth. We must value people and esteem their gifts, skills and contributions.
Their sense of timing also blesses me. The hardworking is done in summer because the winter is harsh and mostly spent indoors. Surviving the winter requires hardworking in the summer and a sense of vision that caused the ant to save towards the winter and so has sufficient supplies to survive the unproductive winter season. The ability to delay gratification is the hallmark of maturity. With his eyes set like on the future, the ant trades the present. Finally, the ant beats procrastination. It does not put off till tomorrow, what can be done today. It makes the hayes while the sun shines. I am sure a closer look again will throw more wisdom our way from God’s tiny miracle.