Summer has once again come to a quick end. Yet, some significant things happened this past summer that made it feel like an eternity. Regardless, September is already here and the temperature drops noticeably in the evenings. There still are some wonderful things to look forward to. I observed last Fall in Colours, nature puts on a display that has yet to be bested by even the greatest of artists.
A smaller but no less significant bonus is the welcome disappearance of the horrid mosquito. These suckers won’t completely disappear until the first freeze, but their activity certainly tapers off as the temperatures go down. Finally some relief! I can’t stand mosquitoes. I can only handle being outside in the early evening for a short time. Once they start buzzing around my ears and attacking my legs I start to lose it. If I can’t get inside immediately, I’ll “feel” them around me all night. As a kid I dreamt of inventing a special laser beam that would span the entire city from the sky downwards, frying every single mosquito until it slowly reached the ground. The air would instead be filled with cheers and laughter, and there would be dancing in the streets. I still dream of it actually.
I inherited my deep annoyance of the mosquito from my father. Every summer we would spend our family vacations in camp grounds in either Saskatchewan or BC. In the early years we had our own tent trailers. The roof top cranked up and the ends slid out. Tent material made up the sides of the walls and covered the sleeping areas. These trailers are small; much too small for family of five and a mosquito! That flimsy door always had to be shut, lest even one got in. Although I grew up Pentecostal, I never heard the word “demonic” more often than at night when dad would stumble around the trailer hunting down that last mosquito. I can’t blame him. There is nothing worse than waking up to a new red bite. I never could figure out what God was thinking when He left the mosquito on the insect short list. I wish Adam would have just squashed it right after giving it’s name. How can something so small and insignificant cause so much suffering?
Then one summer I was introduced to the dragonfly. They are big and ugly, with a menacing way about them. I remember the first time I saw a small one. I went to swat it, certain it was another predator. But my dad stopped me before I did and informed me dragonflies were our friends. What? Even their names are ominous. Dragonflies are known for their voracious appetite, but for mosquitoes and not people. According to one article I found, “a single dragonfly can eat 30 to hundreds of mosquitoes per day”. That is pretty impressive, and welcome. All this time I was thinking up some way to rid the world of mosquitoes and God had already moved on it.
Although being food for another creature is helpful, it is not a sufficient reason to justify one’s existence. I still suspect mosquitoes are spawn from hell. But every year they come back. At least it serves as a subtle reminder that we cannot avoid the little (or even large) annoyances in life. It seems that even the smallest of disappointments can take something out of us, and leave us with an “itch” for some time after. But let us not forget there is usually something bigger, like the dragonfly, that we can discover and be thankful for. God has already moved in advance for our sakes, often without our awareness. I know it seems like a silly connection, but consider the permission Jesus gave us to take note of these gems.
“O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.” Luke 10:21
This prayer was in response to the excitement Jesus’ disciples had when they came back from doing some ministry in the community. They took a bold step even though they were not experienced, only to discover God was working to help and heal people. Those people had far more serious issues than a few bug bites, and yet God provided in many interactions. It is a lesson not to get sucked into disappointments and problems, but look for the blessing God has already given, and perhaps even be His conduit to bring relief to someone else. May we too find the hidden things that bring life.