On Sunday, Jon Acuff (writer and blogger of Stuff Christians Like) decided to talk about the age-old question of “Why do bad things happen to good people?” As Christians, this is probably one of the questions we wrestle with the most, but we never truly seem to come to a reasonable conclusion. We pass it off by saying, “It’s a part of God’s plan,” or “This world is not our home,” or some other type of religious word-vomit.
Jon said that this question stems from the “conflict between a beautiful God and horrible pain.” It simply doesn’t make sense to us that God would create us and then throw us into miserable situations. Yes, I get that.
It is as if we picture God to be the Lord of the Ants.
I recently heard a comedy bit from Dan Cummins about his fascination with ants and his affinity to ruining their lives. Here a portion:
I came up with another game you can play with ants called “Lord of the Ants” because it occurred to me that anthills are like their own little world. It’s a whole little civilization, a hierarchy, people living, working there, and then I could stand on that world and declare myself a god of their kingdom. Sometimes I was a good god, and I nourished my children with gifts of bread and skittles and jerky.
He later adds that he finds it equally enjoyable to keep them in check with bug spray, fire, and the infamous magnifying glass. He doesn’t want the ants to get too spoiled.
Some people analogize God to be like Santa Claus, a magical genie, a loving father, or a therapist, to name a few; but in a strange way I sometimes see God as this Lord of the Ants. When things are going well, I imagine God pouring his blessings on me, taking care of me, and keeping the junk out of my life.
Then everything hits the fan, and it is like God kicked my anthill. When you knock over an anthill, what happens? Well, if you’re in Texas and it happens to be a pile of red ants, they will maliciously attack you and make your legs itch for about two weeks.
The ants scurry around trying to fix everything – to put everything back together.
We turn to scriptures like I Peter 5:7 that says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” to give us encouragement. More often than not, I wrongly paraphrase that verse to say, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he will fix it.” This begins an inner struggle because I don’t want/need God’s help. I can fix it myself.
So I start to scurry. I work tirelessly to take control and put everything back together. As my wife (who is also a counselor) would ask, “How’s that working out for you?”
The good thing is that God is not the Lord of the Ants. No matter how likely it seems, God is not in the business of knocking down anthills.
Have you ever had a moment where you could relate to the idea of God being the Lord of the Ants?
When it seems like everything has “hit the fan” in your life, where do you find God?