When I was a kid, I liked to play with earthworms. They were the best part of a rainy day. I know some of you probably find earthworms really gross, but I thought they were cute. Who am I kidding – I still think that.
I’ve been thinking about earthworms for that last few days, and I’ve decided we’re sometimes a lot like them. I know, it sounds really weird. After all, how could we – human beings – be anything like a squirmy, spineless worm?
Tempted and Vulnerable
Before I explain why we are like earthworms, let’s talk for a minute about what worms do. For the most part, they live safe in the dark and dirt, out of sight. Worms are vulnerable creatures and they don’t have much natural protection, so the ground itself becomes their protection.
But then it rains. And the worms are drawn upward and out of the ground by the rain, tempted by the moisture. Eventually, though, the rain stops, the sun comes out, and everything dries up – including the worms. Some worms might be lucky enough to make it back to the ground first, but many don’t.
I don’t really understand why the worms come out in the rain. The odds of them being stepped on, run over by a car, and eaten by birds goes up drastically when they come out of the ground. But they do it anyway.
Here’s How We’re Like the Worms
When you consider our relationship with God, it makes sense that we would stay close to Him where we’re safe and protected. But sometimes we face temptations and, like the worms leaving the ground when it rains, we move away from our safety net.
When worms leave the ground, they become more vulnerable. When we leave God, we become spiritually vulnerable as well.
Satan tempts us away from God, and Satan doesn’t stop when we give in to that temptation. His goal is to get us away from God and keep us away until we are as utterly bitter and angry and miserable as Satan himself.
The further we are from God, the more beaten down we are. Satan can influence us more and injure us more. We’re like the worms that way too. The longer a worm is out of the ground, the more likely it will die; the longer we’re away from God, the likelier it is that we’ll face spiritual death.
The simple solution, of course, is to stay near God, to stay in our “ground.” But when the rain comes, the worms inevitably appear. And when we’re tempted by Satan, we’ll inevitably give in at some point. I don’t say that to depress you. But as imperfect beings, we’re bound to slip up sometimes.
Luckily, our “ground” is never too far away.
Christ Picks Us Up
Like I said before, I liked to play with earthworms when I was a kid. It was interesting to prod them and to watch their movements. But even more than that, I wanted to make sure the worms didn’t die. In my opinion, they were too cute to let die without trying to help.
So I’d pick up the worms and carry them back to the dirt or grass to make sure they could get home before the sun came out.
I’ll be honest; I don’t know if I really saved the worms or not. But thinking back on these memories of saving worms, I realized that if we are like the worms, leaving our spiritual safety net and exposing ourselves to the dangers of Satan when we give in to temptation, then Christ is like a child trying to move the worms back to safe ground.
Of course, I didn’t give the worms much choice in the matter. I wanted them back in the dirt, so to the dirt they went.
Christ doesn’t work that way. Instead, He shows us that He’s near, that He can help, and that there is a way back. He teaches us to have faith and hope. Then, when we’re ready to choose to go back home to our Father in Heaven, Christ reaches out His hand and carries us back to safety.
Christ hasn’t given up on you. Or me. We may have chosen to go a long way from Him and our Father in Heaven, but Christ is right there beside us. He’s helping where He can, He’s eagerly waiting for us to choose to come back.
When we’re choosing to return to our Father, we don’t have to wait. Christ is there immediately, meeting us where we are and working with us to take the next step.