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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Wondering about Wandering

Ant Patrol

On a 90-degree day in Middle Tennessee, my wife, Debbie, and I pulled up to our garage after a bicycle ride. I wheeled my bike onto the concrete floor, looked down, and saw them again: hundreds of ants scurrying in all directions. They sure are persistent, I thought, as I parked my bicycle. I had been battling them since early spring. The score was still unclear.

I came back to the edge of the garage to reexamine their latest attack on our homestead. Watching ants can be fascinating. Some of them must have had bum legs because they were going in circles. Others bolted in one direction only to abruptly change course for no apparent reason. Still, others evidently had a destination and were out to get there in the shortest possible way. None of them was carrying anything. Whatever they were doing, their abundant activity suggested they were serious about it.

They had yet again congregated on either side of the concrete where the garage door shuts, which I found mysterious. That concrete they were jaywalking on had no give to it. Why had they returned to the same place, what were they doing, and why? They couldn’t burrow through the concrete – at least not before I eradicated them with ant spray, which I proceeded to do until all activity ceased.

The View from Above

My vantage point on the ant parade also made me wonder what we look like when God observes our activity. We probably appear busy, but where are we going, what are we doing, and why?

Are we intentional about serving Him and our fellow man or do we squander our time on worthless activities? Perhaps some of us are busy raising a family and trying to make ends meet, but we wonder if what we do will have any lasting effect. Will our efforts have staying power after we’re gone?

Our comings and goings have some interesting precedents. The Israelites roamed in the desert for 40 years until a generation died off. Then God allowed them to enter the Promised Land. They may have seen little purpose in their meandering even though God had a reason.

Another kind of wandering has its roots in the heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (ESV)

Paul explains the condition in Romans 7:18-19:

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (ESV)

Our waywardness influences the activities we choose, and those very activities testify to the state of our heart. Like the ants, we stray far from home, wandering in barren places where nothing good can happen, unable to find our way back to fertile ground.

Yet God in His mercy does not blast us with a can of “Sinner Be Gone.” Instead, He invites us home. Sometimes, He goes to great lengths to protect us until we respond to His call. Even Cain, a murderer, received God’s protection while under the curse of “being a fugitive and wanderer.” Genesis 4:12 (ESV)

“The Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.” Genesis 4:15b (ESV)

Are you where you should be or have you drifted off course? If you’re wandering, chances are some important spiritual disciplines – such as Bible study, prayer, worship, and fellowship – have gone by the wayside. Reclaiming those activities will end the meaningless ones. With open arms, God is waiting for you to come home.

Copyright © 2018 Tim Bishop. Used with permission.

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