John’s Monthly Letter

“We Are Not Grasshoppers”

Dear Hopefulls,
This month I would like to share with you the daily
devotional sent by our United Church of Christ
denomination on June 21, 2020. The reflection is
entitled “Grasshoppers and Giants.” The author is
Matthew Laney. Here is a slightly edited version:
Scripture: The spies brought an unfavorable
report of the land that they had spied out, saying,
“All the people we saw in the land are of great size.
There we saw the Nephilim and we seemed like
grasshoppers next to them.” Numbers 13:32-33
(NRSV, adapted)
Reflection: After forty years in the desert and the
death of a generation, a caravan of Israelites is at
the Jordan River, the border of the Promised Land,
a region flowing with milk and honey. Things are
really looking up! Then spies scope out the new
country. To their dismay, the spies discover
gigantic, intimidating people living there. No longer
hopeful, the Israelites feel overwhelmed,
outmatched, and demoralized, like bugs underfoot.
This is a story about refugees traumatized by
genocide and slavery, and from living in a roving

refugee camp for decades. At this point in the
narrative, they discover more challenges waiting for
them across the border. Fleeing or being forced out
of one’s country is a harrowing hardship. Beyond
that, re-settling in a new country can be
extraordinarily stressful and intimidating. The age
of Covid-19 is not a refugee experience, but we do
find ourselves facing new, unfamiliar territory. We
wonder if we – and our world – will be crushed like
bugs underneath a giant pandemic. I wish I could
say those ancient refugees found only sunshine
and roses over Jordan. In fact, things got ugly. But
the One who lovingly guided the Israelites through
every other gigantic obstacle, never forsook them.
Giant God, when we feel like bugs, remind us that
we are infinitely precious to you. Amen.
Years ago Sue had a Pastor who – when his small
flock started to feel sorry for themselves – would
boldly declare to them, “We are not grasshoppers!’
And that was all he had to say to get the
congregation to snap out of their pity party and put
their oars in the water to work their way through the
circumstances that were bothering them. What is
going on in your life during this stressful time that
has you feeling like a grasshopper? Whatever it is,
know that God regards you as a beloved child of
God with whom God is well pleased. You are not a
grasshopper. You never have been, and you never
will be. And nothing – not one thing and not a
cargo ship of things – can be said or done that will
ever change God’s appreciation of you. May the
knowledge of God’s love for you – no matter what –
free you from worries and fears and set you free to
live the abundant life that God intends for you.
Take care…
Blessings and love, John