A walk with the camera this afternoon revealed marvelous things. It was not a walk in an exotic place. Our backyard is comfortable, familiar.
On a set timetable my walk was brief. Limiting time outside narrows our ability to see things. Time limits distract us from paying attention.
Yet, any time outside is beneficial. It takes the edges off. Worries shrink. Problems seem solvable. Marvelous things can be seen by distracted eyes. Mine saw three.
The sugar maple in our yard signals season change. Maples herald fall, they inspire awe in the process. A Northern Flicker revealed the second marvelous object, Virginia Creeper berries. Stems a deeper red than the most scarlet Maple, the purple berries create a stunning contrast that draws the eye. For number three you have the right to disagree. It was a common house fly. To be specific a cold common house fly, cold enough to allow a camera within a foot of its highly visible perch. This fly will likely not reach its full life span. In two days, the forecast calls for frost. When not annoying me, I find beauty in a single fly.
What do we do with marvelous things? We can relish them. Changing leaves bring the reminder of cold to come. We can appreciate them. Marvelous things quiet our souls, and marvelous things are also created to give glory to God. The source of everything marvelous is God. Breathtaking? It’s God. Magnificent, thank God. Spectacular? God.
These three marvelous things of today have long-standing origins. All were planned by God before recorded history. There is no word descriptive enough for that. It is far, far beyond marvelous. These three simple marvels were planned long ago and have occurred with predictable timing every fall season. That kind of dependable only comes from God. For He is faithful. Millennia have passed, and every fall leaves turn color, Virginia Creeper berries turn purple and flies go into slow motion. These marvels happen every fall. In them God shows us His great faithfulness.
God is faithful in all things. Isaiah reminds us. He said, “Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.” (Isaiah 25:1) When God tells us He loves us, it’s true. He tells us Jesus died for our sins. He did. This is the greatest act of faithfulness ever given. This is beyond marvelous.
The bee in the photo is the titanic. Two other bumble bees of the same species would not equal the size of this one.
This bee is a queen. If no one else is watching you could bow. She is a queen two spotted bumble bee. There are some reasons why at least a fast salute to this sizeable queen would be appropriate.
First, she is a seasonal marker. When the queen comes out bumble bee work is nearly finished. Flowers blossoms are fewer. Freezing temperatures are near. The queen marks the change of season.
Next, she is a survivor. In the next days she will dig a hole in the ground her size. Her nest cavity will not be deep usually less than 6 inches. In this nest she will hibernate. She will survive winter temperatures of -25 F or -31 C often colder.
Have you saluted yet? There’s one more thing worthy of mention. The male bumble bee who mated with her will die likely before frost come. So will all of the worker bumble bees of her colony; and the old queen who began the colony last spring. All will die. She will live. She holds the future spring 2019 colony in her abdomen. One bee carries the next year’s colony.
You don’t need to salute. Know this, a queen bumble bee is an extraordinary creature.
Yesterday we called what happens with bumble bees a superior life plan. It is certainly efficient-and effective. God has made all of His creation this way.
God has a Superior Life Plan for humans. This plan includes the forgiveness of all your sin, and mine…all the sins of every human. This plan includes the infinite grace and mercy of God. He favors us with forgiveness we do not deserve because He is merciful. This Superior Life Plan is free. Jesus bought it for us when died on the cross. It is perfectly effective, and completely effective. The Superior Life Plan of God has no ending. This plan provides life forever-eternally.
It seems logical doesn’t it? God could create the bumble bee to mark season change. He could create the physical body of all queen bumble bees to survive subzero temperatures for months. He could design her body to preserve the next generation. Could God devise a way to give all humans a Superior Plan for eternal Life?
Look at the queen…and see the King of Kings.
Are there things you do not know? We are driven to know. To know is to understand.
We live in a culture where knowing things is priority. We want to know. We want to understand. We want answers. If we don’t know, we expect answers to our questions in less than a second.
But there will always be things we do not know. Things we do not understand.
Even small things can be mysteries. The Assassin Bug is one of them. They are found in all parts of the world. Well, not in Antarctica, but everywhere else. In North America there are 135 identified species. We know other things about this bug. It has been placed in the Reduviidae or true bug family of insects. About 7,000 species of insects are found in this group.
Seems quite common doesn’t it? Have you seen one? No worries, you can look at the photos.
What should you know about the Assassin Bug? Know it has a needle like mouth. Know it injects other insects with a poison which both paralyzes the insect and liquefies its insides. I am not making this up. Know too, they are beneficial insects. They prey on soft-bodied insects. The ones that eat plants in our gardens.
We understand the place of the Assassin Bug in nature. We know things about its life cycle, its diet, the larger family of insects it is part of, and even how adult Assassin Bugs eat. But there are many things about the Assassin Bug hidden from us. Like why is the Assassin Bug in the photo missing a back leg?
The known and unknown life of the Assassin Bug presents us with a larger life truth: We live in a world where things are hidden from us. Yes, hidden even in this age where information is sovereign. Some hidden things don’t bother us…sort of out of sight, out of mind. Yet, if we know something is deliberately hidden from us we may resent it.
Are you struggling with hidden things you do not know or understand like I am? God has a word for us. In the Bible, the book of Jeremiah, we read these words, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:3) God knows the hidden things that trouble you. He also knows if they should be revealed to you. He invites you and I to speak with Him about the hidden things which trouble us. All of them. He will answer.
His answer may be “you do not need to know this.” Do you know the one thing never hidden from us? The truth that God loves us.
It is so common 71% of the earth is covered with it. An aside worth mentioning, humans live on the 29% not covered. The body of a newborn baby is 78% of this common substance. It is ubiquitous. You know by now our subject is water. It is a global substance. It is abundant. Water is so common. Common things are often taken for granted.
No other physical object has the properties of water. It can be solid-ice. It can be liquid-in a glass. It can be a gas-steam.
Water does not boil until it reaches 212° degrees Fahrenheit (100° C). It freezes at 32° Fahrenheit (0° C). These two physical properties of water make life on earth possible. There are other properties which make life on earth possible. Water has the highest surface tension for all liquids. Insects walk on water because of surface tension. Water is “the universal solvent”. Many other substances dissolve in water, more in fact than any other substance.
Water is more than amazing. For a human, it means life. It is so important that each human on the planet should drink a half-gallon of it each day. Try it. But not all at once.
There is another property of water. Because each water molecule is two parts oxygen and one-part hydrogen, pure water is clear. That is because these two elements are invisible in nature.
Clear water is beautiful. Clear, clean water quenches our thirst.
Jesus compared Himself to water. He did not say he was like water. He said He was “living water.” He spoke these words to a woman at a well in Samaria, “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (John 4:14)
Thirsty? We have two kinds of thirst: physical and spiritual. The woman who spoke to Jesus that day knew about her physical thirst. She came to the well to quench it. When she got there Jesus reminded her of her spiritual thirst. He told her about the other kind of water-Living. After a talk with Jesus she went away with her spiritual thirst satisfied.
We drink when we feel thirsty. Living Water cures the thirst of our soul.
Have a talk with Jesus the Maker of earth’s clear water. Tell Him about the thirst of your soul. He is the Living Water. His promise of eternal life is 100%.