A lesson from Arnie, the ant

This week, I got a surprise email from a publisher which read: “I am writing to you because a few months ago, you wrote an article about Elisabeth Elliot and her story regarding an ant and a contact lens.

“I thought you may like to know, and share with your readers, that the ant from that story is now ready to tell his side of that story in a new children’s book titled The Adventures of Arnie the Ant.”

To recap, in 1995, Elisabeth Elliot, an author, speaker and one of the most influential Christian women of our time, told the true story in her book – Keep a Quiet Heart – of a woman named Brenda who lost a contact lens while rock-climbing one day.

The lost contact lens was carried by an ant. Brenda’s faith was strengthened through the episode.

This story of perseverance and faith has been shared and preached around the world.

Brenda’s father who is a cartoonist, drew a cartoon of an ant lugging a contact lens with the caption: “God, I don’t know why you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it’s awfully heavy. But if you want me to carry it, I will.”

So, what is the other side of the story – from the perspective of the ant who carried the lens?

The ant is given the name Arnie.

Arnie lives in a colony of ants where his job is moving dirt, while his brother is a designer, dad, a soldier, and mum, the Queen’s favourite nurse.

Arnie, in a conversation with his grandpa, expressed his feelings of unworthiness in doing such insignificant work.

“Nobody will ever tell stories about how great I am. I’m just the forgotten one. Little baby Arnie who can’t do anything.

“If it hadn’t been for dad, I probably couldn’t have even gotten this job,” he said desperately to his grandpa.

Grandpa consoled: “God has a plan for everyone of us. It doesn’t matter how big you are or how small you are, how young or even how old. God looked at our colony and knew exactly what we needed, so He created you.

“It may not feel like it, Arnie, but God knew what he was doing when he created you, and he has a special plan just for you.”

Arnie was not convinced and he stormed off, saying he would never come back to the colony to move any more dirt.

Arnie fled the hill and raced through the forest where he was led and called to carry a “small plastic bowl” which is the contact lens.

Obeying and trusting the One who led him, he carried the contact lens which was soon taken by a giant hand.

The story continues this way: The hand picked up the bowl (the contact lens) he was carrying. Scared, Arnie let go and raced behind some rocks, hiding there until the hand disappeared.

Then, he heard someone yell up the side of the mountain, “Hey! Anybody up there lose a contact?”

When Arnie had finally worked up enough courage, he slowly crept out from behind the rocks. He heard the voice of a woman. She was praying.

“God, I know it might not be a big deal but thank you so much for helping me find my contact. You’ve made this such a great day. Now I can see all the beauty you created.”

The woman’s friends approached and interrupted her prayer.

“Wow! How lucky are you that ant just happened to find your lens!”

“I don’t think it was luck,” she smiled.

“I think it was His plan.”

Arnie smiled. He went back to his colony and now proclaimed to his grandpa that God has a plan for every one and he picked up a pile of dirt and proudly marched it out of the tunnel.

The author Rob Morgan has hoped his readers will walk away, knowing that “regardless of where they are in life, they should never give up the promises of God but trust that He has a plan for them.

“Often times, we seek out the extraordinary times and are disappointed when they do not come frequently enough but I believe the faithfulness in the ordinary is what prepares us for the extraordinary.”

The week saw thousands of “yellow ants” in the peaceful Bersih walk for “clean elections, clean government, parliamentary democracy, right to dissent and empowering Sabah and Sarawak.”

The week saw many ants arrested and probably charged for participating in the walk.

The week saw our Chief Minister presenting 2017 State budget despite being sick and a bit weak, coughing through the one and half hour session. At times his voice was hardly audible. The Arnie in him knew the budget had to be presented and approved so that the State can disburse from the State consolidated fund a sum of RM5.646 billion to finance almost the entire need of the State’s development expenditure of RM5.928 billion.

The week also saw many ants speaking out on the Private Bill of Hadi’s which had been tabled in the Parliament with no vote and no debate on Thursday.

On the same day when the Bill was tabled, the Deputy Prime Minister made a whirlwind visit to Sarawak.

Though he denied his trip was trying to convince the Chief Minister that the Bill had nothing to do with Hudud, he had certainly managed to convince the CM to “reconsider his decision that his 25 MPs will vote against the Bill.”

When things seem mundane and stagnant and as we are trying to make sense out of following God and trusting Him, it’s good to see the perspective of the ant and be encouraged.

It’s good to learn from the ant to trust without knowing exactly where the journey may lead.

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