22 Sep Clinging to Hope
After Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas area earlier this fall, one of the eeriest things I heard about was the floating ant mounds that were being spotted in the floodwaters. I read this quote from a fire ant expert at Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension Service:
“As the flood waters recede, these floating fire ant colonies will get onto anything they come in contact with and are attracted to—anything that might give them shelter until a mound can be re-established in the soil.”
My first reaction was to cringe in horror, picturing what it would be like to come in contact with these ants. I could see it—a desperate mound of floating fire ants coming into contact with a part of my body. I could imagine the swell of hope, that after floating on floodwaters for days, the ants would finally find something more substantial to cling to—me!
But as I thought about it more, I sensed God showing me a parallel for my own fallen heart in those mounds of ants. The Bible tells us that this world is not our permanent home—that our hearts were created for something more—and we inherently understand that. We’re floating in a place of discomfort because we know we’re designed for something better.
“But as I thought about it more, I sensed God showing me a parallel for my own fallen heart in those mounds of ants.”
But just like the ants, when I come across something that gives me some sense of fulfillment, be it a relationship, a sense of success, an allegiance with a winning sports team or something else, I get that same swell of hope that this “thing” will stop that aching, aimless sense of displacement I have. So my heart latches on. And it clings tightly. But it would be like the ant mound latching onto a twig floating by. No thing in this world can stand up to the weight of the cavernous needs of our hearts.
My tendency, though, is to cling that much more tightly when I fail to get the satisfaction out of an idol—let’s just call it what it is—that I think I should. But the truth is that I will never be able to shake that sense of uncomfortable displacement until I reach the home I am designed for. And the hope of that eternal home—that—is what my heart must cling to.
The book of Exodus reinforces this idea. God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, but they wandered for four decades, living with a sense of displacement and feeling like they deserved better. But if they had tried to set up a permanent home there in the middle of the desert—oh, what they would have missed out on!
“But the truth is that I will never be able to shake that sense of uncomfortable displacement until I reach the home I am designed for.”
Even in the weeks since this revelation, I’ve seen my heart reach out to familiar idols with the hope of finding satisfaction—Satan knows my weak spots and just where to cast his line. Right when I start to think I’ve found relief from the drifting, though, I again realize my idols will never truly satisfy. It seems the safest place to be is the one where I’m most keenly aware that I’m adrift, waiting to find a safe landing in my eternal home.
The waiting is hard, especially when we know we were made for something better, something more fulfilling than this life. But the waiting seems hard-wired into God’s plan to prepare us and shape us before we finally do reach our eternal home—a place that will truly be thrilling and full of wonder and awe! If only we can hold on to our hope.
Lark has an indoor day job, but likes to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors with her family. She enjoys camping, hiking and biking, along with activities that are easier to bring indoors like reading and singing—much to the chagrin of her three boys and, sometimes, co-workers. Lark attends our Pelham Road campus.