Posted in Family, fear, forgiveness, gratitude, life, Scripture, Southern born, thankful, Trials

The Antlion

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Where I lived growing up, I could go fishing and lion hunting every day. It was such an adventure living at 6008 Carlton Road.  All the people who lived in the new subdivision being built across the street had no idea.  Imagine…lion hunting and fishing every day, any day, and it wasn’t my imagination.  You see, our house, like many older houses in northeast Florida was placed on blocks leaving a couple of feet of space between the house and the ground.  And that space was where lions lived, and fishing happened.

No, I wasn’t hunting the king of the jungle and my fishing didn’t involve a pole or water…for that matter. Living under our house was the fierce larva of the predatory antlion…and they were just waiting for me to come along and challenge them.  You see the antlion lives in and loves soft sand…just like we had under our house at 6008. They had a tricky way to catch their food.  They would burrow in the sand and make a cone shaped pit and then hide in the bottom.  Ants or other insects would come along, fall into the pit, and the antlion would reach up from beneath the sand and grab them with their long pinchers and…well, it was game over.  Rarely did an insect survive the pit or antlion. And rarely did an antlion escape from Dewayne the lion hunter.

To catch an antlion, you simply found a spider web, and trust me there were plenty, and twist it into a sorta thread thingy.  You would then attach that to a small stick and then…just go fishing.  I would crawl under the porch (one of my favorite spots) and look for the cone shaped pits of the antlion. After finding a good one—the bigger the pit, the bigger the prey—I would take my stick and ever so gently, and slowly, drag the spider web around the bottom of the pit.  The old antlion would think it was a poor trapped insect and latch hold of the spider web and I would “reel” him in by raising the stick and out would come the antlion. Now what’s really cool is that they would put up a pretty good fight.  Some of these guys were a half-inch long so it was pretty exciting!

What was kind of funny was that even after I pulled the antlion from out of the sand, he just kept hanging on. I’m not sure if he was just really hungry or half blind but rare was the day that he just let go of the spider web.  Now, the story does have a happy ending.  This was strictly a “catch and release” thing. I would study him a while and let him dangle a while before putting him back in the sand. If you are a regular Grits reader you know not everyone got off so easy. Many a “love bug” and ant suffered very different fates.

I was always amazed how easily these fierce hunters became the hunted and fell for the same old trick but then I realized how often we do the same thing.  Every day, or at least it seems that way, we are tempted to do something that just isn’t good for us or wise and yet time and again we fall for it.  Whether it is a food choice, a decision to put something in our brain that doesn’t need to be there, or to say something that is covered with barbs, we simply seem to fall for it time and again. Like I was intentional in my fishing for antlions, the Bible tells us someone, something is intentionally tracking us…hunting for us.

It was Peter (not Pan but the guy in the Bible) who talked about the devil being like a “roaring lion” and his mission is simple…find lunch.  Peter says that he prowls around “seeking someone to devour.”  No, he doesn’t actually eat us, but he does devour our character, our integrity, our legacy, our marriages, our careers and that is just the short list.  The good news is that there is a lion hunter who wants to be on our side…and His name is Jesus.  Lions can be scary but the fear quickly flees with your Lion Hunter, never loses and never misses, walks by your side.

So, if you find yourself like the ant who wandered around under my house and slipped into the pit, just know help is nearby.  Whisper a prayer or shout one out and the great Lion Hunter will be there.  He is never far away and always one step ahead of the antlions in our life.  Yup, you can rest assured, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne