Lessons from ants, blackbirds and snails

Published 8:41 pm Monday, June 13, 2016

By Myrtle Virginia Thompson

In Proverbs 6, the wise Solomon taught about an ant, an annoying creature that we have to admire.

Each spring morning when I go into my kitchen, the horde begins an invasion, slipping through some undisclosed entrance. They seem able to communicate the message “She’s up!” and immediately, they begin their search for a morsel.


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Solomon’s rebuke is a reminder to any who are lazy. He says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways….”

What has he seen in an ant? These tiny creatures work quickly, quietly and are watchful and diligent. They busily store up their food in summer for the cold days of winter. Obviously, Solomon had great respect for them, but no respect for laziness.

The houses where I live are duplexes. My front door faces my neighbor’s. Hers is two stories; mine, a single floor. From my kitchen window I can see the dryer vent high up on the wall of her house.

I watch an amazing thing. A blackbird wants to get inside the vent. He has no place to rest his feet. Using his long beak he pecks away at the shutters, trying to open them. After about a minute, the mate recognizes who is knocking. From inside the vent another long beak pokes out pushing open one shutter. He slips in. Father is home. A family will soon emerge.

I am reminded of Revelation 3:20, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him….” God opens the door to those who need a “heavenly Father,” making me glad I am a part of His family.

It was the weekend of the annual horticultural sale, a place to ask questions and buy plants. I had searched the local markets for climbing spinach. I thought the horticultural sale might have some or know where I could get seeds. Earlier, I had been in my backyard and seen the bud on my amaryllis was being eaten before it could fully bloom. I had cut and wrapped it in a paper towel.

At the horticultural show, I might find an answer for getting rid of the creature that dared to devour that beautiful white lily, a remedy that would not harm the bees or other pollinating insects. By the time I arrived, my lily was opening up and the “plant doctor” and I saw what had happened. A slug had gotten inside. How long did it take to crawl from the ground to the top of that tall stalk?

Of course, it lost its life when I saw it, but I admired the persistence it took for the climb.

I am also traveling toward a goal, and I need persistence when the road seems long, and life tiresome. In Second Corinthians 12:9, Paul reminds us God’s wonderful grace is sufficient for those times. He reminds us God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. I read in Psalm 29:11: “The Lord will give strength to His people.”

At my age, 88, I rely on the promise of Psalm 71:16-18:

“I will go in the strength of the Lord…I will make mention of Thy righteousness, even of Thine only. Oh, God, Thou hast taught me from my youth; I have declared Thy wondrous works. Now also, when I am old and gray headed, forsake me not until I have showed Thy strength to this generation and Thy power to every one that is to come.”

I have gained new insight by reading Scripture.

Myrtle Virginia Thompson is a Suffolk resident and former missionary. Email her at mvtgrt@gmail.com.