Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
A friend recently made the observation that when one goes to Africa, it's very unlikely that you'll be attacked by a lion or an elephant, but that "the swarms of gnats will drive you crazy." He meant that as an illustration of the fact that it is rarely the great challenges of life that bring us down, rob us of peace, joy, and victory. It's all the little things, coming at us throughout our days. Small annoyances that come at us from every direction and from a myriad of different places. We are not stoned to death with large rocks, but worn down by a constant hail of pebbles. Pebbles that by themselves have little effect, but when joined with seemingly endless waves of other pebbles, drive us to distraction. Here's our major problem; we know how to take the the big stones to Him, but we try to handle all the pebbles in our own strength. Most often, it is they that will eventually bring us down to defeat.
In the spiritual realm, we know how to deal with "lions and elephants." Somehow, we never seem to learn how to deal
with the "gnats." Our enemy satan knows this. That's why he finds an endless supply of "fiery darts" to hurl at us each and every day. Difficult people and circumstances. Small obstacles that get in the way, and always at the most inopportune times. Gnats. Gnats that we are constantly slapping at, waving away. Gnats that take our focus off of Him and where He is leading us. Gnats that mean to get us completely centered on them. Gnats that can't kill us, but render us helpless, powerless, and ineffective in the Kingdom.
If we take a few moments to examine just what it is that causes us the most aggravation, frustration, impatience, and
anger, isn't it almost always things that are of no real or lasting importance? How easily can a day be ruined for us simply by someone or something annoying us, frustrating us at its very beginning? There's a funny video that turns up a lot on Facebook. It's about how people in the south deal with gnats. They invade every kind of situation, from simply going for a walk, to drinking a glass of iced tea. There is nowhere that you can be safe. They are outside the door of your home, waiting for you to come out, and they come in with you when you come back. All your time is spent waving them away. It's what gnats do. It's what they seek to do with you and me right now.
Here's our reality: Gnats are not going to go away this side of eternity. Our choice then is what do we do with our particular gnats?.Do we go on expending all of our energy and focus in trying to rid ourselves of what can't be gotten rid of? Like that Facebook video, they will find us, wherever we are. We can spend our lives waving our arms and trying to bat them away. Seeing, thinking, and complaining about nothing but the gnats. Or, we can choose to stop seeing only the gnats and begin to see Him in the midst of them. The daily annoyances, frustrations, and aggravations of life are not going to go away. They too will be outside our doors waiting for us to come out, entering in with us when we go in. They'll be everywhere. Jesus often told people to "bring him, her, them, to Me." We seem to be able to do that with the "lions and elephants" of life. Can we do so with the "gnats?"
I write this on a Tuesday morning. Through this day, there will be more than a few gnats, pebbles, and fiery darts to
come at me. What will be my response? What will be yours? Do we rant against the unfairness of it all. Do we allow the friction of it to rob us His Presence, along with His peace, joy, and victory? Or, do we choose to live in the power of a life that not only gives us victory over the lion, the bear, and the elephant, but also of the gnats?
From time to time we read of stories where people have been attacked and killed by a bear or lion, and though it makes
headlines, it's rare. There are never any headlines for those who are killed by the gnats. Not literally of course, but worse, spiritually. May it not be your spiritual legacy or mine, that it's written of us, "Killed By The Gnats!"