The Ant Lion

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 5
My backpack seemed to be growing heavier and heavier. At last, easing it off, I threw myself down beside the trail for a short break in the hike.
The day was hot and still, not a sound to be heard, not a leaf moving. Slowly the ache in my shoulders eased. The tiredness went away, and I was enjoying the stillness all around when suddenly a hint of motion caught my eye. In the dry sand of the trail little grains of sand flew up. Again—and again—and again, and a small round dimple in the sand began to take form.
More sand flew, and the dimple grew and deepened and became a tiny round pit, a trap, a real lion's den for ants.
At the very center bottom, almost buried out of sight, an ant lion waited for his prey. A little red ant came running along, seeking food in her usual busy way. She climbed up on the rim of the sandy cup and peeped over to investigate. Possibly sensing danger, she turned to scramble off.
Too late! The dry sand rolled from under her feet, and down she went to the bottom, right into the hungry jaws of the ant lion. Soon there would be nothing left of the ant but the empty case of her body to be flipped up and out of the pit in the same way the grains of sand had been thrown.
I found several such pits in the soft sand, some with the skins of the dead all around, but the inside looked pure and clean. The dead were tossed out of sight. There was no lion to be seen, but there was death in the pit.
Sometimes an ant would topple in and then struggle frantically to get out. It would climb and slip, climb and slip, until it could climb no more and slid helplessly down to the waiting mouth. Not once did I see one get out by itself; the only escape was for me to lift one up, out of that "sinking sand," and onto firm ground.
Does it sometimes seem to you that you are in just such a pit? Have you climbed and climbed, always struggling to get up and out, only to slip back further each time? You want to be better, to do better, but every slip, every fall leaves you deeper in that discouraging pit of sin.
Like the ant, you need help from above. God has provided the very help you need. In Job 33:24 He says, "Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom." The ransom was God's own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who "came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." Matt. 20:28.
He is able to save you; He is willing to save you. Why not just stop struggling to save yourself and say, "Yes, Lord Jesus, I thankfully accept this free deliverance from this awful pit"?
Then you can say, with millions of others, "The Lord... heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit... and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God."