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The Gospel According to Frogs

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Rebecca Davis The Stand (Print) Associate Editor MORE

I don’t like frogs. I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate them. For real. That’s the honest truth. I realize those are strong words for something that God created, but that’s exactly how I feel about those amphibians. I want absolutely nothing to do with them. 

Don’t show me a picture of a frog or give me a stuffed animal frog and try to convince me that it’s cute. I can assure you that you don’t want to go there. If I stumble across a real frog while outside, it’s bad. Really bad. I have no control over the physical, mental, or emotional response that comes over me when I see a frog in any shape or form. I truly have ranidaphobia. 

Cleveland Clinic defines ranidaphobia “as intense and irrational fear of frogs and toads. The condition is a specific phobia (fear), which is a type of anxiety disorder.” 

So I admit it: That’s me. My name is Rebecca, and I suffer from ranidaphobia. 

And this is the time of year in the South when my ranidaphobia intensifies. It seems like frogs are everywhere! In the grass. By the water hose. Lurking in a hole. Stuck to the side of the house. Floating in the swimming pool. Croaking from the ditch. … Everywhere I turn. And I can’t deal with it. That is why I have put parameters in place to ensure my safety and well-being. 

So why am I telling you all this? It’s not something I usually broadcast. In fact, I usually keep quiet about my phobia because, well, some people think it’s funny and that I’m just being dramatic. But trust me! It’s far from funny, and it’s certainly not a cry for attention. 

However, as I was scrolling through Facebook a few days ago, one of my memories popped up. It was a quote from theologian and pastor John Piper that I had posted several years ago. It hit me hard then, and it hits me hard now. 

Piper said:

“I have heard it said, ‘God didn’t die for frogs. So He was responding to our value as humans.’ This turns grace on its head. We are worse off than frogs. They have not sinned. They have not rebelled and treated God with the contempt of being inconsequential in their lives. God did not have to die for frogs. They aren’t bad enough. We are. Our debt is so great, only a divine sacrifice could pay it.” 

That cuts this frog-hater to the bone. … Think about it. Apart from Christ, I am worse off than a frog – the one creature that I despise to the nth degree. Yet He loves me still, and out of His good kindness, God gave His Son as an atonement for my sin. 

“The measure of God’s love for us is shown by two things,” Piper explained. “One is the degree of his sacrifice in saving us from the penalty of our sin. The other is the degree of unworthiness that we had when He saved us.” 

As strange as it sounds, the way I feel about frogs helps me have a greater understanding of how God feels about me, and it’s overwhelming, especially since I am so very unworthy of His love and grace. 

Perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:7-8, ESV). 

Piper puts it like this: “We deserved divine punishment, not divine sacrifice.” 

In all actuality, I deserve for God to treat me the way I treat frogs. 

I deserve to be despised, yet He was despised. 

I deserve to be rejected, yet He was rejected. 

I deserve to die, yet He died in my place. 

I agree with Piper when he says that the measure of God’s love increases even more when we truly consider our own unworthiness. 

“There is only one explanation for God’s sacrifice for us. It is not us. It is the ‘riches of His grace,’ (Ephesians 1:7). It is all free. It is not a response to our worth. It is the overflow of His infinite worth. …” 

For it is only His love and sacrifice that makes me more valuable than a frog. 

 

Editor’s Note: The quotations from John Piper that were used in this blog were taken from a Crossway article titled “The Measure of God’s Love (Toward Those Worse Off Than Frogs).” However, the content in that article is actually an excerpt from Piper’s book, Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die.

 

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