Thursday, June 1, 2017

Bubbling Along


Have you ever seen a Bubbler Crab at work? These tiny creatures hide in their burrows during high tide and emerge at low tide to feed. They scoop sand underneath their bodies with miniscule nippers, suck the microscopic nutrients from the grit, then discard the unusable portion in ball shapes behind them. 

They focus on sucking each little ball of sand in the hope of a tasty meal, then move on to form another ball. They work with great efficiency every second of low tide. When the water comes to wash over them, they burrow in to rest for the next eight to ten hours, after which they will do it all again on the next out. I compared their twelve-hour cycle to my twenty-four and wondered if I was making as much use of my waking hours as they were.

As I walked along the beach, I marvelled at the work ethic of these creatures, spending all their waking moments on the time-consuming and labor-intensive task of collecting food. Each bubble of sand represented part of the forage for their daily meal, and there were millions of little balls. These mass of balls formed intricate patterns in the sand. The sand bar was covered in bubbly pictures, some so perfect in design, I imagined that not even the most visionary artist would be able to replicate them.



Then I realised that, as grand as these patterns were, art was not their main priority: eating is. The beautiful patterns I see on the beach are only a delightful side effect of their labor. I wondered how the Bubbler Crabs could be so oblivious to their grand design, and then I realised they never saw the bigger picture. Only we humans, standing high above them could view the magnificence of their handiwork.

It didn't take me long to understand the connection I had with these minute creatures. At times I feel as though my work is lacking, that it isn't enough, or hasn't made an impact. I wonder if my small contribution to the world ever makes a difference, or if my ministry finds the targets the Lord has set for it. Seeing those little Bubbler Crabs hard at work put a few things into perspective for me.

These creatures work tirelessly all their lives, oblivious to the stunning larger patterns their work represents—just like I might be oblivious to the larger pattern of my life. There is One who is not oblivious. Looking down upon me, the Lord sees me hard at work, gathering each little ball and throwing it out to the world. As I do so, He places it in the pattern of my life. I wondered if my job was much like the crab's job— to do the work and let God complete the pattern. I will not see the bigger picture until I stand with Him and He points out the swirls and contours of my life.

This is not the only realisation I came to as I watched the Bubbler Crab. I realised that not only does this animal work to capacity, but it often works under great stress. The sea birds flying high above me see a different big picture. They see dinner, and they swoop in from great heights to randomly pick these little crabs from their workplace. The only defence Bubbler Crabs have is to keep their wits about them, and to literally have one eye looking up at all times. How alike we both are! Keeping a present mind and one eye above is vital to the crab, and to me.



As I looked back to where I had walked along the sand, I saw my footprints had made an unsightly path through the beautiful patterns. But one little crab had already ventured out from its’ sandy hollow to set about filling in the indent my foot had made. Little round sand balls were already being pushed to the side of my destructive path. No stomping human was going to stop this little crab—he (or maybe she) got to work filling in the messed-up sand with new patterns. He would work this pattern to completion. I admired his tenacity and spirit, and thought about how I could apply such a driving force to my life.

It is a marvel to me at how the Lord puts simple things in my path to teach me great lessons. In theory, the Bubbler Crab and I don't have anything in common, but in reality we both dance that delicate balance between existence and purpose, reliance and faith. And I am thankful to the God who created us both for the gifts He has given us, both the ability to work to feed ourselves, and the talent for giving pleasure to others.



Rose was born in North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her Resolution series.

Two of the three Resolution novels have won Australian CALEB awards. She has also released The Greenfield Legacy, a collaborative novel highlighting the pain of Australia’s past policy of forced adoption, as well as standalone novel, Ehvah After. Her most recent release is A Christmas Resolution, which is part of the novella box set, An Aussie Summer Christmas.

Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and her desire to produce stories that point readers to Jesus. Rose holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, and resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband and son.

Visit Rose at: www.rosedee.com





15 comments:

  1. What an inspiring post! Thank you Rose. Loved the way you shared - I could just picture those crabs bubbling along. I too have been reflecting of late that often we don't see the big picture of our lives or our writing. Only God does. Won't it be wonderful when He shows us the effects of our writing when we come face to face with Him? It's only in eternity that we will see the real impact our faithfulness to His call has brought. Oh, may we be faithful. Thanks for showing us a grand perspective and a hopeful one.

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    1. It is a wonder, isn't it. I love how sometimes the Lord reminds me that everything He has created has a connection. We are not separate from His creation, but a part of it. Part of the 'bigger' picture.

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  2. Beautiful picture Rose. Thanks ❤️

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    1. xo. Bit cold for the beach here today, (well, cold for us North Queenslanders ;-))so it's nice to see photos of a sunny day. :-)

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  3. What a wonderful and insightful analogy, Rose. I appreciated it so much. yes we do forget to realize the big picture of our lives especially as seen from the Lord's viewpoint. Yes, we'll just keep bubbling along and doing what He's planned for us to do!

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    1. And I think that big picture is a lot bigger than we think too, Rita. I am sure there is so much we will learn when we look upon it as a whole. :-)

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  4. I loved this post and the lessons in it. It reminds me that I mustn't try and work against the tide! There are times when I need to rest. I'm sure every time I walk the beach I will remember this. Thank you.

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    1. Jo thanks for another great insight. God factored rest in from the beginning. Funny how we often fail to take it seriously.

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    2. Hi Jo. I'm so pleased you found these lessons in the post. Since I wrote this, I also see these little bubbler crabs differently. The are far more heroic.

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  5. What a lovely image of God's oversight and place within it. We never really know how much impact our work has. So often it has unseen ripples. Thanks Rose 😊

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    1. I do believe at times we consider our work to have low impacts. But I've come to realize it's not just our work impacting others, it's the impact our work has on us. Our growth is part of that big picture too. :-)

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  6. Great image, Rose. I needed to hear it this week. God has been speaking to me about being faithful in my creative endeavours - and to trust that he will take them and use them. He can see the big picture- I can't - just like your bubbler crabs.

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    1. I'm in a different season to you, Sue. I believe I'm going through a season of rest with my writing. And for the longest time I've been super stressed about it. Literally over-anxious that I'm not writing, not producing. But now I know that this stillness has good purpose. I've stopped worrying and started praying. And trusting, and living the season. :-)

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  7. Oh, I love those little crabs and the incredible patterns they make with their sand balls. Great parallels, Rose. Thanks. :)

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    1. I try not to walk on the patterns now, Adele. Which is sometimes impossible as the beach is covered with them.

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