You’re No Lady, Bug

Genesis 6:18-20 (KJV)
(18) But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
(19) And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
(20) Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

Anyone who has ever planned a huge party understands the importance of keeping the guest list to a minimum. Yet when God was planning his biggest catering event to date–the cruise aboard the ark–He did not seem to be concerned about the capacity of the ship. He invited every kind of creature indiscriminately. No offense to creepy crawlers, but I think I would have crossed them off the list.

While watching an uninvited insect bathing in our butter dish, I decided that “ladybug” is a misnomer. I was raised to be a lady, and one thing a lady never does is show up uninvited. A science experiment at our local university went awry, and our town was the unfortunate recipient of thousands of these little pests. Adding insult to injury, I later discovered that a ladybug is not even technically a “bug,” but rather a beetle. Admittedly, this beetle has an amazing marketing director, but it’s rather misleading to go around representing itself as a ladybug, when in reality it is a rudebeetle. Other lesser-used names include ladybird, ladycow, and ladyfly, but despite its ongoing identiy crisis, this bug was not fooling me.

Before you think that I am overreacting, let me explain the extent to which these pesky houseguests overstayed their welcome. I am convinced that Pharoah would have let the Israelites go sooner if only he had been staying at our house during our Spring Plague of Ladybugs. Our house was swarming with black and red polka dots, which not only clashed with our blue/green ocean décor, but also had the added effect of driving me insane. They would show up in our beds, in our food, on our clothes, and we may as well have set some extra places at the dinner table.

As you can imagine, our children were positively delighted with our new visitors. They would chase them around, hold them, and even talk to them. In their minds, ladybugs were particularly friendly, and therefore even better than a pet. “Hi, Ladybug! Have a nice day,” our little ones would cry out joyfully. These cheerful salutations made me cringe with guilt as I was scraping the “pets” from the bottom of my shoe into the trashcan. Some people consider seeing ladybugs as a sign of good luck and that killing them heralds bad luck, which would make me about even.

I was feeling slightly guilty about my feelings of animosity toward Lady B, so I decided to find out more about her. Apparently, these insects are beneficial to most gardens, as they feed on aphids, mites, and other pests. It dawned on me that God probably knew what He was doing when He created them. What really captured my attention was that there are over 5,000 ladybug species. This amazing fact made me realize that we haven’t even scratched the surface of God’s incredible wisdom and knowledge.

1 Corinthians 1:25a
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom…

Obviously, God doesn’t have any “foolishness,” but this verse tells us that even if He did, no man on the planet could ever compare to His level of genius.

Just reading about insect facts in general made me further realize what an awesome and mighty God we have. According to Wikipedia.org,

“There are approximately 2,200 species of praying mantis, 5,000 dragonfly, 20,000 grasshopper, 82,000 true bug, 120,000 fly, 110,000 bee, wasp, ant and sawfly, 170,000 butterfly and moth, and 360,000 beetle species described to date. Estimates of the total number of current species, including those not yet known to science, range from two million to fifty million, with newer studies favouring a lower figure of about six to ten million. With over a million described species—more than half of all known living organisms—insects potentially represent over 90% of the differing life forms on the planet.”

I am so glad that there are entomologists who actually study bugs for a living. (Thankfully, this possibility did not even show up on my Vocation Apptitude Test in high school.) While it must have been exhausting to count and study millions of insects, every species found was another notch in the belt of God’s infinite accomplishments.

Girls are stereotypically supposed to despise insects, but our daughter, Grace (5), didn’t get the memo on that one. After a recent dentist visit, she picked a plastic bug from the reward bin. The dentist and the hygenist–both women–were mortified and tried to talk her out of her decision, but to no avail. Grace finds insects fascinating, and I must admit that her enthusiasm is infectious. After many wasted years of bug aversion, I am now a fan of learning more about God through these incredible creatures.

God even uses the ant as an example of diligence:

Proverbs 6:6-11
(6) Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
(7) It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,
(8) yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
(9) How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?
(10) A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest–
(11) and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

How humiliating to have to be reproved by an ant, but the example lives when you actually watch ants working. They are constantly on the run, gathering food and building shelter. Have you ever seen one watching TV or playing video games? I’ve often thought that the ant serves no other purpose but to provide us with this workplace example. The fact that God even used this illustration in His Word is significant. I wonder how many more of these millions of species serve purposes that we haven’t even discovered yet.

Is it possible that by observation I just might learn something from these infinitesimal insects? I have decided that from now on I will reconsider before I squash a bug. Just as long as they don’t show up uninvited in my butter dish…

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