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Parable of the Earthworm

My mother lives in a long-term care facility that is very near to my home. It’s close enough to allow me to pick her up every Sunday so that she can attend church with me. What a blessing that is for her and me!

When we finish all her last minute preparations, such as fixing her hair, putting on a little powder and lipstick, I wheel her to the front porch of the facility where she waits in her wheelchair as I go to my car.

One Sunday morning following a heavy rain the night before, I pulled the car around to the front entrance as I do every week. The facility has a wide driveway to facilitate medical vehicles and the dropping off and picking up of residents. After helping my mom into the front seat and storing her wheelchair in the trunk, I noticed an earthworm just a few inches away from my back tire as I walked to the driver’s side of the car. I thought how remarkable it was that I had not run over him, but I also knew that he would be a very lucky worm if he didn’t get run over by another car in his quest to cross the wide driveway to a small grassy patch of ground.

I view earthworms as one of the earth’s little heroes, so I wanted to protect him and keep him from being run over. I gave him an airlift to the patch of ground in the direction he was heading. As I picked the earthworm up, his little body contorted and wiggled around, trying his best to get out of my grip. He only had to endure this trauma for just a few seconds, but to him it probably seemed an eternity.

After I walked back to my car and considered what I had just done, I saw the correlation between that and how we often find ourselves in life. Like the earthworm, we sometimes stray from our place of safety in God’s arms, and we find ourselves in the middle of spiritually dangerous situations. We convince ourselves that it’s okay if we take a few steps into the world, that we’ll be able to handle anything we encounter. We wander along thinking we’re doing okay, then the next thing we know we’re in the middle of a tough time, wondering where God is. We don’t always see the spiritual danger that lurks around the corner.

But just as I was able to view this little earthworm’s surroundings and assess the potential danger he would most likely encounter on his journey, God also sees our circumstances, our temptations and potential danger we will encounter on our journey. He’s always just a whisper away and available to rescue us. Just like the poem “Footsteps in the Sand” states, when we only see one set of footprints, it’s because God has carried us. If that little earthworm had the ability to reason and think (and talk!), that’s what he could have said to me, “I only see one set of footprints, and that’s because you carried me to safety.”

That earthworm had his world turned upside down when I picked him up. My motive behind picking him up was solely with the intent of protecting the little guy from harm. I had no way of communicating my intentions to him, so he had to endure those seconds of being suspended from my hand without any clue of what was happening to him. Neither could I tell him that if he would trust me, he’d be back in the safety of his home.

However, when God allows us to go through trials and tough times, we may not always recognize His purposes for allowing us to go through them because they seem traumatic at the time. Instead of trusting in the safety of His hands, we often wiggle, contort and rebel against His hand on our lives. We try our hardest to get out of His grip. But, we should always remember His intentions are for our spiritual good. It may sometimes be a test of our faith in Him, but regardless of what we’re going through, He remains faithful and trustworthy.

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