So Why in the World did God Create that?
And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds (or ‘flying things’) fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” Genesis 1:20 English Standard Version (ESV)
How Pollyanna of me! You will come to discover that about me soon enough. I think of God’s winged creatures: the soaring hawks and the sweet melodies of the songbirds, conveniently forgetting the yellow jackets and the mosquitoes.
Until I look down at my left hand where my wedding band should be. Oh, yeah. That.
Last week, my sister and I sorted firewood under the shed. I had slipped on a long-sleeve shirt and gloves before carefully lifting cured firewood from its place, clearing space for the green wood from the freshly fallen red oak limb dropped by summer storms.
I was moving slowly, looking carefully for snakes or black widow spiders. My sister laughed at my spider fear; hers was of yellow jackets and their hidden nest under ground.
That’s about when I felt the first sting, sharp and quick in my thigh. The next hit was the back of my knee, and I looked down to the knuckle of my left hand to see another yellow jacket stinging through my glove.
Benadryl and ice and Tylenol didn’t stop the swelling or the burning heat of the pain. My wedding band came off as the swelling slipped up my fingers, around to my palm, and down to my wrist.
God’s winged creatures don’t always fill our hearts with joy and admiration. I am going to have to talk to God about this one day. And really, what does this tell me about my loving Creator God?
God tells us He is fearful. We don’t quite believe Him in the safety of our ‘Jesus loves you’ world. God also tells us not to stray into the dark – or too far from His careful watch.
Since God isn’t around to ask what He was thinking with this whole creation of angry yellow jackets, (I am not even going to begin to get into mosquitoes – because I am sure those must be some horrible mistake) I decide to consult the biologists… and the organic gardeners.
Well, these experts love yellow jackets. Some go so far to say we need to carefully mark their nests and let them be. You see, they have a role to play in the big scheme; yellow jackets feed their young on liquefied insects, including caterpillars, beetle larva, flies, and get this – spiders. Okay. I guess I should like this bit of news.
Only females sting, because the hive consists of one egg-laying queen and her many sterile females. What? And they sting when they are threatened and believe they must defend their home. So, if you are a woman, you gotta cut them and their maternal instincts a little slack.
So, I guess my story of creation and God and the stinging yellow jackets is a bit of a cautionary tale. Does the whole of creation reflect the whole of God? Are we so often only looking at the sting and the swelling from the venom, that we can’t see the bigger story?
When the safety of the group is threatened by outside forces… when the welfare of the community is provoked by potential harm, God has equipped His well-designed yellow jackets to inflict pain. Just one sharp sting is enough to warn me to back away. Quickly.
And I think of places… and people in my past. I think the sting wasn’t sharp enough. The retreat wasn’t quick enough. And I still carry the scars from getting too close to something I should have not just backed away from – but run away from, as fast as my little legs would take me.
We have to admit, there are places in this world we shouldn’t go. Things we have no business interfering with. You know it. You see the potential danger there… or else you wouldn’t have worn the long sleeves and the gloves…
I know I have gone into those dark places before – thinking I was smart enough to keep myself out of danger. I usually wasn’t.
Take warning. All in this world is not rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes we get too close to danger. Sometimes, the yellow jacket stings.
Question: Have you ignored God’s warnings of danger before? How did that work out for you?