One Without the Other


You can’t have one without the other. This thought began today when my camera strap went around my neck. The air temperature was 68 F. That is important when your subject is invertebrates. Rain had fallen earlier, so insects were moving slowly.

After a few moments of observation, my subjects became the soldier beetle and showy goldenrod.

After taking their photos, my goal was to share them with you. Reading about them soon led me to the idea that, you can’t have one without the other. Without the pollinating work of the soldier beetles, there would be no showy goldenrod. Yet, without the showy goldenrod, there would be no soldier beetles.

Soldier beetles, like most insects, overwinter in the larval stage. Overwinter in some latitudes within beetle range means surviving average daytime temperatures of teens above zero and nighttime temperatures of 5 to -10 degrees F. (a range of -3 C to -22 C) Adult soldier beetles emerge from the pupa stage in later July to begin their life with pollen. Pollen of the goldenrod and other flowers blooming at this stage of summer is their food. If a flower blooms from mid-July till freeze up, it is likely a soldier beetle will visit it for a pollen dinner. Native plants have a symbiotic relationship with this common beetle. Both plant and insect benefit.

Showy goldenrod is beautiful. My favorite yellow is goldenrod yellow. This yellow is appealing to more than only my eyes. Many call this goldenrod the most attractive. This essential native plant grows throughout all of eastern and mid-western United States and in Manitoba and Ontario. It is a beneficial food source for butterflies. But, there is another one without the other showy goldenrod relationship. This is the most important one. It’s about when showy goldenrod blooms.


It is not chance that brings showy goldenrod into bloom when the soldier beetles hatch from the pupa they were in during early summer. These two natural events occur almost simultaneously with symbiosis the goal.

Yes, there are many more “one without the other” relationships.  A few that may come to mind are:

  1. Loyalty and trust
  2. Experience and wisdom
  3. Success and sacrifice
  4. Happiness and peace of mind
  5. A beginning an end
  6. A healthy environment without predators
  7. Healthy forests or prairies and fire
  8. Flowers and pollinators
  9. Rivers, lakes or oceans and water
  10. Life and death
  11. Forgiveness of sin and Jesus

One without the other relationships are part of all human existence. But, number 11 is the only eternal one without the other relationship. We may ignore our conscious. When we do, we can ignore the fact that we sin. Yet, we fall short of God’s standards for humans every time. Sometimes ignoring our sin is less painful. But ignoring our sin is just a Band aid. Ignoring may cover-it up, but our sin is still there. Jesus came to earth to take away our sin. We cannot have our sin forever removed without Jesus. This is the one without the other relationship that matters for eternity. Everything else is trivia in comparison. One that has power to make the showy goldenrod and soldier beetle emerge at the same time of year has power to forgive your sins. We can’t have one without the other. The most important “one without the other?” It is forgiveness of sins and Jesus.

 “Brothers (and sisters), listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Acts 13:38  



Super heroes attract. A superhero has extraordinary powers. Most super heroes do extraordinary good for people.


We are fascinated with them. There is another truth, superheroes are fictional.

But, not all of them. This is about a real superhero, actually many of them. They are called bumblebees.

Our superhero flies, just like most fictional heroes. It is not fast though. Top speeds are about 16 yards per second. (that’s about 32 mph) Most superheros are strong. So are Bumblebees. They can fly because they have powerful thorax muscles they vibrate. The thorax can vibrate a bumblebee’s wings between 130 to more than 200 times-per second-for real.

Contrary to fictional heroes, our superhero does not live alone. Bumblebee colonies grow larger as the summer season progresses. Between 50 and 500 bumblebees may work in unison in the same colony. These superheros accomplish much more than their solo and fictional counterparts.

Ability to be frozen fits in super hero caliber. As a queen bee emerges from a winter of hibernation beneath frozen ground she searches for a suitable nest site. She lays her eggs underground, usually in an abandoned and already fur-lined rodent hole. He first young to hatch are daughters. They feed the colony. They are superheros as well. Female bumblebees carry pollen in baskets called corbicula on their rear legs, another superhero feat. Unlike honeybees, a bumblebee colony only needs enough honey to live through cold summer days when they cannot fly because of rain and cold temperatures. Bumblebees can fly in cooler temperatures and in lower light than other bees-superhero again. Just one additional thing: other insects pollinate, the bumblebee with its muscular thorax can pollinate flowers by buzzing. It is called buzz pollination. The female bumblebee grabs the pollen structure of the flower and buzzes. This dislodges more pollen for the bumblebee-and the flower is pollinated.


Super heroes do extraordinary things. But, they are fictional, and given their powers through the imagination of a human mind. As pollinators, bumblebees do super things in real-time every day of the growing season. They are critical to our human world food supply. Bumblebees however are not the figment of a human mind. They are the creative genius of God. No human mind could develop an insect like the bumblebee. Not only does it possess superhero characteristics, the bumblebee provides a life service to thousands of plants and we humans.

The Creator of the bumblebee has beyond superhero status-He is God.

 He counts the stars    and calls them all by name. How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension! Psalm 147:4-5

There is a most logical way to explain the bumblebee; earthly super heroes require an almighty beyond comprehension Creator.