Ants. They are absolutely everywhere. There is a never-ending line of them on the wall over my monitor as I type. This consistent parade has been present since we moved in several months ago and after several attempts at “eliminating” them, we have chosen to coexist. They’re in our bed. They’re on my toothbrush every time I pick it up. They’re all over our house, especially in the kitchen, hundreds searching the countertops each morning. All shapes and sizes. As long as an inch and as small as a comma. Those in our house don’t bite and they are actually fun to watch, in a child-like sort of way. They are busy. They are in constant motion and they seem to be excellent communicators. One never passes another of its kind without bumping into it. I don’t know what information is exchanged but their organization is beautiful. They follow the same trails, and each other, without exception. If the Tupperware lid for our sugar container is not perfectly sealed for a night, it is FULL of ants by morning. How, in such a short time, do they not only find the open container (on a shelf touching the floor with only two legs), but also find a way to communicate to so many the address of the party? I’ve seen a line of leaf-cutter ants over a half mile long. They are a fascinating parade to watch. Each with their green banner carried over their head. What keeps them together and so organized? Ants really are not difficult to live with, once you accept them as roomates.
Of course, they are also other than beautiful. Fire ants and several other types bite horribly. Some bites are minor but all the reactions lasts for days. And these bites have an impressive predisposition for infection. I’ve had six pretty good foot infections (needing antibiotics) in six months and they all started with ant bites. Other ant bites feel like bee stings and leave you hopping, which is usually humorous to a Brasilian. Some bites actually give you a day or two of fever. Our boat hit a tree one night and thousands of large fire ants dropped onto the boat. Over the next several days we got bit in some of the most peculiar places. Ants in pants is a real daily experience in the tropics and I’ve had the opportunity of experiencing it with biting types several times.
Ants are a remarkable creation. There are likely more ants in and around our mission complex today than there have been humans through all of history. Their fascinating uniqueness and downright miraculous existence is commonly unnoticed. They don’t go unnoticed here. Observing them leaves me in awe of their designer. How does a brain that size manage information to operate six legs with more speed and strength for their size than mine. They maintain a complex social structure and communicate remarkably well (“Party at the Kubacki’s, the sugar container (Luke left the lid ajar again) in the kitchen, right-top shelf, under the window …”).
As I walked to pray today at sunrise, I asked God why He sometimes seems so veiled or hidden. Instantly I sensed the command to look around me. The sunrise was spectacular (previously minimally noticed), with multiple colors, shrouded in mist, over the eastern hills, near the river. People were up and about, communicating, walking, biking. A cat dashed across the road in front of me. In the distance, the Xingu river and the jungle stretched out before me. Parrots flew overhead. I became immediately aware of miracle upon miracle, placed before me in that moment, completely taken for granted. This moment was not unique. This occurred every second of my life. CLEAR demonstrations of who He is, His power, His creativity, and His affection for those made in His image, all around me, all the time. God’s presence is NOT veiled and hidden. It is marvelously and lovingly and clearly displayed before us, all of us, each and every moment. Do we have eyes to see?