tarantula zacchaeus

The ranger told us about the tarantula migration. At this time of year, every year, the males come out of their burrows and walk across the desert seeking the females. Some travel over 50 miles to find her. It’s instinct. As humans, we have the instinct to seek God, our creator. The difference between us and animals is that we can go against our god-created nature. Unlike animals, we have the free will to deny instinct—we have the choice to say no, and crawl right back into our holes.


It’s in our nature to seek truth, a truth that is deeper and farther reaching than even our conscious minds are aware of sometimes. It’s just a part of who we really are. Some people distract themselves and busy themselves so they never have to confront this essential self-awareness. Others know they’re seeking but just don’t know who or what.


That was the case with the Apostle Paul when he went to Athens. He went to where the people gathered to discuss philosophies beliefs and “addressed them as follows: ‘Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about’” (Acts 17:22-23).


The Greeks were such seekers, they didn’t want to miss out on any deity, so they even put up a shrine to the one they might have missed! Hilarious, but it goes right along with our human nature to seek truth. When Paul came along he had the opportunity to tell them about the God they didn’t know, and the significance of His son Jesus Christ.


In Jeremiah 29: 12-14, our God gives just a few of the great benefits of searching Him out:


“I will hear and heed you. Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will release you from captivity.”


But like the tarantula, our journey across the desert has its obstacles and that’s why we need to seek the Lord every day and in every situation. It’s so easy to fall into some kind of mental, emotional or even physical captivity if we dare to think we can really do fine on our own. It’s pretty simple really. God created us, Jesus knows everything about us and we are just not that smart!


For the tarantula, there are the huge rocks to go over, the snakes and predatory birds to avoid, and the cholla cactus that literally throws out barbed spines if you even get close to it. You don’t even have to touch it for it to become an enemy. And then there’s the infamous tarantula hawk, a large orange-winged wasp about two inches long.


The tarantula hawk is mostly passive at every other time of the year, eating only vegetation, but when the tarantulas migrate, the female wasp becomes a vicious one.


She flashes those beautiful orange wings and injects her paralyzing venom into the spider, then pulls the paralyzed victim (about eight times her weight) into a hole below the sandy desert floor. The spider may or may not awake out of the paralysis as it becomes the first meal of the baby wasps whose eggs were injected into its hairy flesh.


The point: seeking has its dangers. The journey has unseen obstacles and hardships. But the tarantulas don’t just stop. They carry on—it’s instinct. A few get stung by the wasp and won’t make it, but most of the seekers find what they’re looking for. It’s the same with us.


God’s Word says, and Jesus confirms: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8).


Sometimes we read a scripture and/or say a scripture to ourselves and think it should work and then we get disappointed and discouraged when we don’t get results. That’s because we keep it in our own realm. We say it to ourselves and it doesn’t really go where it needs to go. We read and say, “Ask.” But we don’t actually DO the asking.


Instead of just reading and saying the scripture to ourselves, we need to speak directly to our God, and/or say it to our Lord Jesus: “Lord, your Word says ‘ask,’ so I AM ASKING You now. I am SEEKING You now.” Bend your ear to me now and answer me. I am listening and expecting. Thanks for being here with me now. Amen.”


There are many examples in the gospels of those who sought after Jesus. I love the story of Zacchaeus, who was a short man and climbed up into a tree to be able to see Jesus, unobstructed by the crowd. And what did Jesus do? Luke 19:5 tells us:


“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” The Carolyn translation would go something like this: “Hey, buddy, come on down. I want to spend some personal time with you, so let’s go to your house.”


The male tarantula’s instinct is to seek a mate once a year. Our instinct by nature is to seek our Lord and God daily. Let’s follow that instinct and go with the plan our creator has set before us, one day at a time.


Love, Carolyn


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