Think Like a Bug
By Laura J. Bagby
CBN.com Sr. Producer
On a Saturday afternoon, I spent time unwinding on the steps of Regent’s Communications building. It was near 80 degrees and sunny, and I was enjoying the warmth as I lay back against the base of a majestic concrete pillar and proceeded to talk to my sister by cell phone.
During my conversation, I caught myself averting my eyes periodically to a small, black beetle only a few feet away to my right and in my direct peripheral vision. It was lying flat on its back and violently flailing its legs in the air in an attempt to turn itself over. I took that sight as a bit of an annoyance. I was callous to the vulnerability and plight of this unfortunate insect. Surely, this bug is going to give up the ghost soon, I thought, and returned to talking about family matters.
After a lengthy conversation, I snapped my cell phone closed, resituated myself, and proceeded to take a nap. Only, I kept getting woken up by that menacing bug. This time I heard its tiny, fragile wings buzzing furiously. Just die, already! I mused to myself, and wearily lay my head back against the cool pillar.
But the bug wasn’t giving up. I popped my eyes open again several more times and redirected my attention to the beetle that was still determined to right itself. This insect was on a mission. This miniscule creature had a goal, however instinctive it was. And it wasn’t about to let death overshadow its efforts.
I began to evaluate this morsel of truth differently. I mean, how much of a chance does a tiny bug have at survival at this point? Even if it does manage to get back on track, it could easily get smushed by an unsuspecting student flying down the steps to get to another class. Or it could get eaten by a bird. Or it could simply die of dehydration.
Yet that dogged persistence and audacity remained. If such a paltry insect wants to live, I finally concluded, then I will help him, however belated.
With a new sense of mission, I got up off of my makeshift seat and turned the beetle over with a gentle flick of my shoe, being careful not to damage its sensitive underbelly.
“OK, you are free,” I spoke aloud, and waited to see if the bug had the strength left to take its long trek back home. I actually hoped that after all this time, it might actually make it.
For several seconds, the beetle didn’t move, as if stunned. But slowly at first and then picking up the pace, it raced its stubby legs across the concrete with renewed vigor toward its new destination.
There is a lesson somehow in this for me, I reasoned. I often feel this way when some everyday event catches my interest. It’s just one of the ways that God speaks to me.
So here it is, that message for you and me: When faced with incredible obstacles beyond our control, we simply need to operate like a bug. Here is how.
Don’t focus on your gigantic problem; move toward gaining victory.
Don’t be like the men that Moses sent to survey the land of Canaan who concluded that they couldn’t take possession of the Promised Land because the current inhabitants were powerful and the cities large and fortified (see Numbers 13:28). Instead of viewing themselves as the spiritual giants entrusted by God to overtake the land as they should have rightly considered, the explorers viewed themselves through a natural lens as mere powerless grasshoppers (see Numbers 13:33). Because their sights were on their overwhelming circumstances instead of their sure future win, the Israelites temporarily lost their footing. Their mission mindset was replaced by anxiety and fear of impending doom.
Bugs, on the other hand, don’t have this kind of worrying ability. They simply go about their business, just as they were programmed to do. And the bug in my story, though seemingly disoriented when I first turned it over, didn’t waste time getting to the next location once it realized it was back on its feet. It moved like it owned the place, undeterred by the gigantic world around it or seemingly improbable odds.
It’s time to act like a bug and get on with it. We confidently keep our eyes focused on the goal ahead because we know that our victory in Christ is assured. We must continually have the attitude that the Apostle Paul describes in Philippians 3: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (13b-14).
Have faith that everything will right itself eventually.
Just as the beetle persisted in regaining its footing, so we as Christians need to persist in our faith that God will take care of our situations and enable us to regain our proper stance.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We might find ourselves flat on our backs as we undergo various trials in our Christian walk, but rest assured that God knows what He is doing and won’t leave us flailing forever. He will get us back on course in His good timing. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Accept the help of a friend when you find yourself in a vulnerable position.
Granted, the beetle in this story didn’t “accept” my help, but it’s still a good illustration that we as Christians need each other. Sometimes we need a bit of a push to steady our steps and help us reclaim our spiritual equilibrium.
God purposed that we would need to rely on each other, so that’s why the Body of Christ is made up of folks with different roles. Some of us have amazing sight and can see trouble far down the road. Others of us are extremely surefooted and know the best path to get from Point A to Point B in the most God-pleasing way. Still others are finely tuned to the frequency of God’s voice. And on and on it goes.
Too often in our Christian walk, particularly if we are Western thinkers, we pride ourselves on our self-reliance. But that John Wayne attitude isn’t going to help us in the long haul, especially in those moments when we can’t do it ourselves. We hear so often how there is power in one to effect change in the world, but the Bible points to the power of two or more to get the job done. As it says in Ephesians 4:9-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
Be directed by instinct.
In this case, we need to use our hardwired spiritual antenna, the Holy Spirit’s guidance. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).
Knowing that still, small voice of God should become more and more automatic as we meditate on God’s Word day and night as King David did. As we continue to abide in Christ, being rooted and built up in Him, we will come to distinguish between what are our thoughts, what are the enemy’s thoughts, and what are God’s thoughts. We become accustomed to listening to our Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus — “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
Instead of being confused about what path to take or which direction to turn, we will be able to follow Isaiah’s instruction once we put our trust in the Lord and seek to hone our spiritual understanding. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21).
This theme of staying the course is echoed also in Deuteronomy. “So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess” (Deuteronomy 5:31-33).
So, the next time you see one of God’s tiny creatures fervently going about its business, don’t ignore it. Maybe God placed that powerless creature in your view as a reminder that His wisdom and His ways exist even in the most mundane and everyday events… however big or small.
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