Everything from magnificent orchid flowers to jumping spiders are supersized when you live in a rainforest! Catastrophes like tsunami’s, hurricanes, earthquakes and volcano’s keep us on our toes, but it’s the chiggers, roaches, sandflies, mosquitos, ticks and ants that test our endurance.
My husband has very few fears, but army ants swarming a million strong are way up on the top of his short list! The drug cartel, the National Guard accusing us of being CIA spies, the untamed animals, poisonous snakes and lethal frogs…none bothered him like the threat of army ants marching across the jungle floor consuming everything in site, leaving a wide path in their wake. As a point of interest, a whole colony of army ants can consume up to 500,000 prey animals each day!
We had one cardinal rule that was for our jungle living protection. We would never take food into our beds! Even though we slept under mosquito netting, we needed to protect ourselves from the noisy mosquitos and the marauding population that roamed while we were sleeping.
Most nights our house would fill up with our Kuna family and we would put our girls to bed and continue teaching by way of a kerosene lantern, swinging from the center of the room. One particular evening, I slipped behind the parachute walls to tuck the girls securely under the netting. We were always very careful they had no open gaps…much more so than we were with ourselves.
A few hours later, after turning in for the night, we heard Kimberly Joy rustling about, moaning and rolling in her sleep. In the next few minutes she cried out for us. Ralph bolted upright, grabbed the flashlight and darted out the open door only to find his “worst fear had come upon him”! With one fell swoop he had Kim out from under the net and was frantically brushing large jungle ants off of her. Handing her frightened frame to me, he turned to grab Christina in the bunk above her, who had awakened and was screaming at the invasion!
The swarm was a foot wide and moving at nano speed! In their haste they were crawling all over each other to reach their pending goal! Just their momentum was terrifying…nothing was going to deter them! They had come up through the cracks in the floorboards and were in a mad rush to reach the cookie crumbs that Kim had left behind… in her bed!!!
Keeping focused and realizing the severity of our circumstance, Ralph grabbed the powdered poison purchased just for this event and began to kill the creepy crawlers that had assaulted our peace! Time seemed to stand still as the persistent attackers were redirected and eliminated.
The next morning we awoke to find our pet rabbit had been attacked and his hollowed out furry skin was all that remained. The ants had killed our fluffy friend and they had carried off all of their dead! Ralph sprinkled the poisonous powder down the path they had cleared through the jungle into our home…they never returned!
Sometimes in life difficult circumstances begin to rule in our hearts. Whether big or small they are the very opportunities given by a God who knows our needs and is specific in His teaching and purpose. For days it occurred to me that if those small creatures could enter once, twice would be even easier. Sleeping became a tiresome nightly adventure as my imagination began to capture the other night crawling inhabitants that were possibly lurking on the other side of our mosquito nets and bark walls!
“I will praise the Lord, who counsels me:
even at night my heart instructs me”.
Psalm 16: 3
I knew the large jungle cats, hairy spiders and enormous scorpions would give me pause, but I did not count on a swarm of ants! It was the “little things” that tripped me up!
Knowing God is supreme and there is purpose in every plan He chooses for us puts it all in perspective. Our job is to focus on His life-lesson in the teaching through the circumstance. We will be in this “school” of life until He calls us home. Surrendering to however and whatever He choses to “grow us up” are all part of the adventure. One of the exciting things about the Christian life is that the adventures are endless, if we have eyes to see from His perspective!
The most common thief to rob us of the blessings of God is our refusal to learn from the “little things” in life. Listen girlfriends…
“…the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations. Psalm 33: 11
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11
~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America. Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California. My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.