I have an ant problem in my room. I noticed them weeks ago, crawling around my room and sometimes on my mattress, but they never bit so I dismissed them after flinging them mercilessly off my bed. However, when I returned from a short expedition to Vietnam, I discovered the ants had begun making an ant pile near the base of one of the legs of my bed. Which meant…there were many, many ants on my bed. I cleaned out the ant pile, washed my sheets, and found the source of the ants. They were coming through holes in the poorly-sealed grout between the tiles on my wall.
If I had wooden walls, they would literally be coming out of the woodwork. As it is, they were actually coming out of the tilework. And they had started to bite! It was war.
After trying several different battle tactics (including spraying them with Lysol and insect repellant, attempting to seal the grout with glue (and failing), and googling how to make homemade grout so I could more effectively fill the holes), they still wouldn’t stop crawling around. I managed to keep them off my bed by spraying the base of my bed with lemon-eucalyptus insect repellant, but they continued coming out of the tilework day and night. They were driving me crazy. I won’t elaborate on the paranoia I developed except to comment that I one night I had a dream a giant ant attacked me. Finally, though, it dawned on me that I had tape. I could tape over the ants’ entry points and keep them from congregating around my bed. (No matter that they can come in through the half-centimeter gap under my door. My door is far away enough from my bed.) Who needs to make homemade grout when they have tape?
Thus far, it’s working! Granted, at the time I’m writing this it’s only been about thirty minutes since I taped over the grout in my tile (with black electrical tape because that’s all I have), but I have high hopes for this plan. I watched one ant coming back to the holes in the grout, looking for the way back home, passing the tape confusedly, and then scurrying around in a panic-like state before heading back to wherever he came from. You know how ants crawl in a line? How they travel to a place and return using the exact same route? Well another ant was coming up that same route but hadn’t yet discovered the way home had been sealed, and I always imagine the ants talk to each other when they bump into one another going opposite ways. They bumped into each other, and the panicking ant waved his little antenna around like crazy, and the other ant paused for a millisecond before continuing hesitantly on his route. This is how I imagine their conversation went:
“Dude!! Dude!! I can’t find the hole to go home! It’s gone! Something happened! Something terrible is going on! You can’t go back that way! You can’t!!!”
“Yes!!! What are we going to do?! You can’t go that way! Help me find a new way!”
“Oh. Thank you for the information. I’ll go see for myself.”
And then the ants continued on their way. What I like about ants (and I like very few things about ants, and I only like this trait sometimes) is that even if they bump into another ant that has updated news, they never listen. Over the past several days I’ve had plenty of ant observation time, and it’s true: I don’t know what kind of communication ants have, but they never take another ant’s word for it. They must see for themselves.
It reminds me of a woman in the Bible who told her friends about Jesus, and they went to see for themselves. It happened in a town near Jacob’s well in Samaria.
In the story of the Samaritan woman at the well, the woman’s friends heard the woman’s testimony and came to see Jesus for themselves. Eventually they told the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know this is indeed the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).
Sometimes, it’s a good thing to be like those stubborn little ants. When we hear something so strange and radical it’s nearly unbelievable, we must go and find out for ourselves.
“Come and you will see.” That’s what Jesus told two men who asked where he was staying, and they did. They followed him and saw for themselves. And they ended up being two of the twelve disciples (John 1:39).
The Psalmist wrote: “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). It’s an invitation.
Come and see for yourself. I can tell you all the stories in the world about the Lord and what He is doing in the nations, about missions and the international church and how life-changing living with faithful Christians of a different culture can be. I can tell you how rewarding it is, how difficult it is, how it helps me see Jesus more clearly, but sometimes that doesn’t do it justice.
You must come and see for yourself.
So here is the invitation, friend! Come and see. Come to the nations and see what God is doing. Come to a cross-cultural setting and experience the joy and the wonder of learning about God from a completely new perspective. Come begin friendships with those who are not like you and see the beauty of diversity.
Come to Cambodia, or come to Mexico, or come to China town in your city, or come to an international students’ gathering. Come to a church service in a different language, or come to an apartment complex housing refugees. Come to a lifestyle built around Jesus. The Lord called us to make disciples of all nations, and the adventure and joy of following His call—that’s something you can only truly experience for yourself.
Don't take my word for it! Come and see for yourself.
(If you want, you can come see the tape on the tiles in my room for yourself!)