The ant

When I was a child, the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was a blockbuster.  There was one scene, though, I couldn’t watch.  It was the fight between the children’s gentle ant and a vicious scorpion.

The children (after being shrunk to pea-size) befriend an ant.  The ant escorts them across their backyard safely.  But, all of a sudden, a scorpion appears flashing its pincers.

The scorpion wants the children.

The ant faces the scorpion head-on in battle.  They fight fiercely, and they fight to the death.  The scorpion kills the ant.  He drags his prize away, leaving the children alone.

I couldn’t understand it.  Tears rolled down my cheeks.  Why had the sweet ant died for the children?  Why hadn’t he fled and left the children to die?  And why did he have to die, after he was so brave?

All around us, again and again, is the melody of the Gospel, sometimes faint, sometimes piercing.  But if you listen, you will hear shadows of redemption’s story in the heartbeat of what moves us most . . even in a children’s movie.

Why did the ant die?  He didn’t have to.  He could have fled.  But he loved the children more than his own life.  In a beautiful puzzle–one in which we can never lay down the final piece–is the heroism of the ant, that he would give his life on behalf of the lives of the children.  That he would treasure the children who had done no great service to him, regard them so precious that he would be willing to undergo torture and death for them.  And in this symbolism is the mystery of God’s love.  For us.

Jesus Christ didn’t have to die for us.  He had far less reason to die for us than the ant had to die for the children.  The children didn’t do anything to deserve the scorpion’s wrath, but we turned to our enemy for protection from goodness in the most grave error in mankind’s history.  It would be as if the children ran to the scorpion for protection from the ant.  We became enslaved to the enemy, sure to be stung by his poison.

But Christ still defended us.  When we didn’t want to be defended by Him, when we didn’t even realize what serious trouble we were in, when we thought He was the enemy . . even then, Christ died for us (see Romans 5:6, 5:8, 5:10).

The ant and the scorpion . . are only a faint retelling of the love Christ holds for you and I.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9, NIV)

 

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