Sep 03, 2017 05:19AM
By Bonnie Lyn Smith
I came downstairs one morning, sleep still in my eyes, hair wild, and hands feeling around for the coffee machine. Then I remembered to turn on the lamp above our frog terrarium and spray some instant humidity into the screen at the top. As I wiped away the blur from my morning stupor, two of our three baby tree frogs were sitting reverently together with their eyes toward heaven. It occurred to me that perhaps they just might know something that I did not in that moment.
There was an awareness, awe, expectancy.
If I didn’t know better, I would have thought they were having a moment conversing in their amphibian tongue with God.
But do I know better? I am not so sure. Instantly, this verse came to mind:
Psalm 121:1-2, ESV
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
Much to my chagrin, we haven’t named the frogs yet. My 11-year-old son wants them to reach a more significant size so he can name them with greater precision, aligning his name choices with what he assumes is gender. Not me. I’d rather just jump right in (hahahaha) and call them “Jeepers” and “Fly Breath,” but he has insisted that I wait.
After observing these little web-footed friends since their tadpole stage, I am convinced they are identifiable and that they each have a God-given personality, an imprint from their Creator.
“A frog, Bonnie? Seriously?”
I don’t pretend to have conversations with them that they reciprocate in any way, but I can see their expectant eyes. They know they are cared for. While they follow instinct leaping around their habitat rapidly extending those amazing tongues to catch fruit flies, I see the care of God in their eyes. They look up, frequently. They do something we humans don’t often understand:
You know what we do when we rest in Christ, when we are still? It is in that quiet, that slowing down, that we worship because we pause long enough to acknowledge:
“God, I know that You are there and You care for me. You’ve got me covered. I trust You.”
Since frogs tend to get a bad wrap in the Bible (think Egyptian plagues right before Moses led the exodus), I will choose the example of sparrows, another creature used to teach me to stop and acknowledge God and His amazing care for us:
Matthew 10:29-31, ESV
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
What Jesus is getting at here is that we are not to worry or be anxious. He values us more than the sparrow, and yet even the needs of the sparrow do not go unnoticed and unmet. He is sovereign. We can trust Him.
I love God’s creatures as much as anyone, but from the very beginning, God placed human life over animal life. We were designated caretakers right from the start. They were (and are) our responsibility, but they were (and are) also under our authority, our dominion.
So, if God cares even for the creatures He placed beneath us in importance, we should be as expectant as my frogs that morning as the light switched on above their heads. They have not been forgotten. There is a Creator who provides.
How about for you, then?
Do you put your feet on the floor each morning as you swing out of bed and immediately look up?
Do you know your needs will be met?
Do you face each day in awe of all God has done, is doing, and will continue to do in your life?
Maybe you are in a season where you haven't been able to land that interview and you’ve been out of work long enough to have moved beyond concerned into full panic. It doesn’t make sense to you. You can’t figure out what you’re doing wrong, why God seems to ignore your prayers, why you can’t catch a break. Does He want your family to struggle?
We’ve all heard that a thankful heart is the remedy to our negative thinking, and certainly, that can be true, but what if we stepped it up a notch? What if we took the regular posture of one in adoration of the Creator, fully trusting and thanking Him for His goodness and provision (even when we cannot see that provision tangibly yet)? What if we worshipped in this stillness?
What if we were expectant?
You may find this little frog-inspired lesson silly. I can tell you with utmost certainty that some of the pain and loss that knocked the wind out of me just over a year and a half ago led me to a path of stillness.
At first, it was being quiet before God. It was an expectancy that He was here and with me.
But then, it grew into a sense that He is awesome because He is God, and if He can care for the sparrow, I should always be looking up. He deserves my worship even before my limited mind receives an answer to my prayer. He has given me the gift of His precious son Jesus, and along with that, life everlasting.
In the process of coming out of a time of mourning, I have watched plants grow and observed many critters along the way, both inside and outside my house (hummingbirds, bunnies, birds, frogs, dogs, toads). Through the observation of His amazing creation in action, I had an epiphany: Creatures demonstrate expectant trust in the One who gave them life.
Consider what the Bible says about creation:
Revelation 5:13, ESV
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
Psalm 66:4, ESV
All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah
Romans 8:19, ESV
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God [emphasis mine].
What if we did that today? Started to make a conscious effort to wait with eager longing, anticipating our Savior’s presence and worshipping Him?
What would change in your life for the better?
What would change in mine?
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.