(Excerpt from God Loves Gardens, by Dawn Jones)
As I sat in the early morning darkness, I had lighted a citronella candle—one of my several strategies to prevent mosquito bites from occurring—when I observed a common moth drawn to the light of the flame. Moths are so fragile and beautiful, and are so unaware of both their fragility and their beauty that they are vulnerable to flying too close to the flame…as this one did. I looked down into the pot, and there he was, overpowered by the flame he was inexorably drawn to, and now I have a moth carcass stuck in the wax!
Again, I observed another moth flying playfully around the patio light. Granted, there was no live flame to endanger him on this occasion, but I could see what he could not—a craftily woven spider web all but hidden and well within the range of the carelessly ignorant moth. He was potential breakfast for this spider, and he had no idea.
We are quite credibly akin to moths; that is, our generation, our culture, and certainly all generations prior to us:
- We are beautiful, even if we are considered “common” by others or in our own estimation. So called “common” moths, though they may not be as popular as their Monarch cousins, are certainly elegant and a marvel of delicacy and intricacy in their own right. As the moth was unaware of his beauty, so are we often lacking in our own self-awareness. Frequently we esteem ourselves as merely common, not much to look at, especially when compared to our older sister, or best friend, or the prom queen, or….most of us are painfully familiar with the mantra. This common deception, however, is decidedly contradicted by God Himself when He prompted King David to pen that fabulous Psalm 139, which tells of how we are each “fearfully and wonderfully made”. (1) King David continues to expound on the wonders of birth and life and God’s overarching plan for each of our lives. It’s a good read, especially when looking in the mirror first thing on a Monday morning!
- We are as fragile as we are beautiful, and more than we care to admit. In today’s American culture, teenagers are typically pegged as being risk-takers. While this may certainly be an honestly acquired reputation, it behooves us all to reflect on our very mortal frame. And of greater significance, I must remind myself that there are areas which are more tender to the flame and fire of life than just my skin. The heart, the mind, the personality, the spirit, the intellect—all of these are not as resilient as we would hope, as is sorely personified in the lives of young people struggling with eating disorders, addictions, and the various pitfalls of 21st century survival. (2)
- Despite our own beauty, and in ignorant disregard for our wound-able condition, we are compellingly drawn toward the things in life that seem to sparkle and shine. And most of these bring a promise that, somehow in owning them, will supposedly cause us also to sparkle and shine. We crave “bling” for our relationships, our reputation, as well as in our possessions. Jesus spoke directly to this hedonistic mindset, when He said that a person’s life is more that those things which he possesses, and this includes all the bling and sparkle and shine that the world has to offer. (3)
Something very calculated and sinister occurs when we are unable to get a grip on how God sees us in our very own uniqueness. Likewise, we can predict a common response when we underestimate our weaknesses. It is that we will eventually tend to give our attention, and indeed ourselves, to the world’s definitions and promises of success. In so doing, we fly perilously close to the web of deception and compromise, and to the flaming wax of consequence.
And invariably, we get stuck.
- Psalm 139 (the whole chapter!)
- Job 4:19; Psalm 143:4,5
- Luke 12:15