I ran into a tall tree this past week… a tree with a big sign posted on it: Keep Climbing.
The ant in front of me was speeding upwards through the various cracks in the hard bark. What was remarkable about this ant’s speed and direction was the fact that he (or maybe a she) had a tremendous heavy load on its back. I watched in awe, not believing such a small living insect could carry that amount of weight. I have pondered that for days now. If an ant can do seemingly impossible feats of carrying a large burden… upwards… surely I can. “Go to the ant, consider its ways and be wise!” Proverbs 6:6
We all know that ants can carry an incredible amount of weight, but a new study at the Ohio State University has determined that the common American field ant “can withstand pressures up to 5,000 times its body weight.” They report this amazing strength may be due to its tiny neck joint.
Wow… I just failed my training.
It is true other insects are capable of heavy weight lifting feats, but it was this ant scurrying quietly upwards that caused me to consider how we are to carry our heavy burdens.
I am weary these weeks… too burdened to move with the burden, especially upwards. In my younger years, I managed to keep moving… and briskly, too. Around detours, obstacles, ant hills. This Pollyanna was not daunted by the negatives in life. After all, ‘something wonderful would always be around the next corner’. I kept climbing through the effects of childhood sexual abuse, the divorce of parents, the sad loss of an infant son.
On and on I joyfully trudged. (I wonder can one trudge joyfully!) Lyme disease couldn’t conquer an optimistic outlook; Q-fever held me hostage for a time, but eventually, I began the ascent.
These were my personal burdens; my deep trust in a loving Father kept me motivated to ‘hold on’ and progress upwards. These days, I am overwhelmed with the troubles and trials of my children and grandchildren… and I can’t hold on.
A few days after posting the blog … holding fast… I became aware my hands were slipping; I could hold no longer. A sweet whisper the next week while reading in Psalm 139 covered me with a gentle peace. “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.” V9,10. No matter where I am, there the Lord will find me.
I sat weeping, knowing this is true, but asking, “Lord, how are You holding me… fast? I think I know how to hold to You, but how do you hold me when I can’t hold?
Later that morning I needed to make a dreaded service call. You know, one of those calls when you can’t understand the person on the line, or you are transferred multiple times. That morning, a most beautiful voice answered, and helped me quickly and joyfully. I knew she was Filipino even before I asked her nationality. You may not understand, but it was as if God’s love surrounded me and ‘held me fast’ as I remembered the many beautiful gracious Filipinos who had loved us so well while in Vienna. I smiled and hugged myself all morning.
Just a small thing…
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence, without fault and with great joy… to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty and authority , through Jesus Christ our Lord…” Jude 24
“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping, Your love, O Lord, supported me, held me fast (italics mine)…” and I could keep on climbing. Psalm 94:18
You may want to listen to the song, He will Hold me Fast…