Recently I was introduced to the waxy monkey frog. First of all, it is a really weird name, but the
truth is it’s a pretty apt name. This creature is called a “monkey frog” because it has opposable
thumbs. It uses those thumbs to climb in the trees.
I’ve explained the monkey part, but what about the waxy? They got that part of their name
because they produce a thick waxy secretion from glands just behind their eyes. They then rub
that all over their body. These frogs are able to hang out in direct sunlight and some very HOT
temperatures (up to 106°F) thanks to that waxy secretion. It acts sort of like sunscreen, protecting
its skin and keeping in moisture. Most other frogs would dry out in that type of environment, but
the waxy monkey frog is protected.
When I heard about these strange little creatures, it happened to be when my Bible study was
reading through the beginning of Daniel. I couldn’t help but notice the resemblance to how the
frog is protected from immense heat and how the three men were protected from the fire. (Daniel
3) The three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were faithful to God and refused to
disobey his commands even if it meant being put to death. During their sentencing they state that
“If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O
king, may he save us! But even if he will not, you should know, O king, that we will not serve
your god or worship the golden statue which you set up.”
They not only have faith that God can save them from a fiery furnace, a horrible death, but they
trust that it is still the right decision even if God does not save them. That kind of trust is awe
inspiring. And their faith was rewarded. They were sent into the fiery furnace and as it burned
off the bonds they were tied up with, it did not singe a single hair on them. They were
This topic also seemed fitting for this holy week because one part of the holy triduum that seems
less talked about is that once Jesus dies on Good Friday, He goes down to hell to set people free.
It is called the “Harrowing of Hell”. Anyone that died before Christ was sent to hell, but many
did not choose eternity away from God through a sinful life. They were good holy people, and,
upon Christ’s death, the gates of heaven were opened, and they could finally enter. When I think
of being protected from the flames, I think of Christ when He was in hell. Not only does he not
suffer, but many of the images of the event show him taking out a devil while he is at it.
Jesus is protected from the fires of hell just like the waxy monkey frog is protected from the sun.
During this holy week, I hope that you will reflect on these two stories from our faith. We must
strive to be as faithful and trusting as the men in the book of Daniel. They are an amazing story
of how God protects the faithful, though this comes with their comment that even if God didn’t
protect them in this earthly way that He is still a good and just God. May we have that kind of
faith when it feels like the “fire” of earthly struggles are closing in around us. BUT even when
our faith falters, when the fire around us starts to feel too hot, may we find comfort in the fact
that God has conquered hell. He is untouched by any fire, and He is there to help us. He will save
us. That’s exactly what we celebrate this weekend. God is our protection from the fire. His death
and resurrection secured that.