The Locust

by Rhonda, September 08, 2022

My daughter and I parked the car near a rusty gate at our county lake.  It isn't far from where we live, and we like to go to this particular lake because it is so peaceful.  But, today we were here for a different reason.  We've been training up for a 5K, and we decided to try a new running route to add some variety to our training program this week.  It isn't that we don't love running around our little neighborhood multiple times, over and over, but everyone needs some new scenery once in a while.

We planned to get up at 6:30 am and begin our run.  However, the problem was it was now 4 p.m.  The 6:30 plans went by the wayside when both of us hit snooze too many times on the alarm clock.  We were going to pay the price for it, though.  It was ninety degrees, muggy, and the sun was in full force.

"Maybe we'll pick up a breeze across the lake," I said.

"I'm already hot," she responded, "and I haven't gotten out of the car."

We took one last drink from our water bottles and exited the vehicle.  We'd never run the route at the lake before, and to be honest, I wasn't sure if there was even a proper trail around the lake.  As we began to walk through a narrow trail, I was surprised by the sheer amount of bugs that jumped out as we walked by.  Grasshoppers, moths, you name it.  There were bugs everywhere.

As we began to run, it seemed the bugs jumped out of the tall grass near the trails even faster.  Grasshoppers bounced off of me.  Other bugs did, too, but I don't know what kind they were.  Then, a very large bug bounced off of my forehead.  I actually stopped for a moment because I was a little surprised.  It was huge and I rubbed my forehead to see if there was a large dent that remained.  I was pretty certain it was a locust.

I can see why John the Baptist ate those, I thought to myself, they would be quite filling, given their size.  

After we finished through the Terror Trail of Bugs, we rounded the first corner and stood face to face with a steep hill.  

"You've got to be kidding me," my daughter said.

I didn't say anything, because I was still recovering from nearly being flattened by a locust that John The Baptist would have eaten.

As we started up the hill, I couldn't help but think about how life can be this way sometimes.  Since I've been struggling with approval addiction lately, I could see a parallel.  It can feel like you're being attacked left and right by annoying bugs, and constantly struggling uphill to gain (and keep) the world's approval.  Isn't that how the world works?  We are always on an up-cycle of approval or a down-cycle.  We never stay static.  

Jesus invites us to get off of the roller coaster of approval.  We are allowed to stay at the top of the hill with Him, because he always approves of us.  He died on the cross as an ultimate act of mercy for us, and as a direct consequence of His mercy, He supplies us with never-ending approval.  No roller coaster.  No uphill, no downhill.  Only peace.

Romans 3:22 (GW Translation) Everyone who believes has God's approval through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no difference between people.

I wanted peace.

My calves ached as we ran to the top of the hill.  The top, oh the beautiful top of the hill, was finally upon us.  I enjoyed it for about two seconds before we began the descent down.  The jog down was much easier than the jog up, but as soon as we were to the bottom, we looked up at another gigantic hill.

"Worst run ever," my daughter said.

I didn't say anything because I couldn't think of anything positive to say.  We'd both already forgotten how easy the downhill was, and all we could see was the hill ahead.  When we finally began the arduous task of jogging up the next hill, I was sure I was going to die.  I'd rather take a locust to the forehead.

Isn't that the problem with the roller coaster of approval?  To stay on top, you have to make your way back to the "top of the hill" position the same way you obtained it.  If you obtain approval by letting others control you, you'll have to continue this same pattern to stay on top.  If you obtain approval by stepping on others, you'll have to continue this destructive pattern.  No, thanks.  The roller coaster gives the devil access to our lives.  The enemy has taken enough ground, no need to give him anymore.  I'm taking the chicken exit.

I made my way to the top of the second hill, and much to my surprise, I did not die.  I kept jogging with my daughter beside me.  We still had to go back through the Terror Trail of Bugs (TTOB) to get to the car.  I took a deep breath and closed my mouth so no grasshoppers would jump in.  I began jogging and the TTOB did not disappoint.  

A plethora of bugs bounced off of me.  A few landed on my shirt, and if I hadn't been so freaked out, I would have been fascinated by how odd they looked.  I'd never seen such strange looking bugs, but since they were on my shirt, I didn't take much time to inspect them.  I flung them off, kept my mouth closed, and kept running.  I flung bugs to the left, I flung bugs to the right, and I have to admit my average page picked up substantially.  Bugs are quite the motivator.

Before we knew it, we were back to the car.  I turned on the air conditioner.  My daughter grabbed her water bottle.  "That was not fun," she said.

I was still checking my clothing for bugs.  "Which part?  The bugs, the steep hills, or the sun beating down on us like the Sahara?"

We drove home, swearing we would never again decide to run around the lake during the hottest part of the day.  But, the lesson of how hard it was to stay at the top of the hill was not lost on me.  There's always a testimony in everything we go through.  

It takes too much energy to stay at the top of the hill. I think I'd rather just follow Jesus.
SHARE 0 comments

Add your comment