This was the year I had hoped to rejuvenate my tired old vegetable garden. All winter I visualized the new terraces to prevent runoff, the trimmed tree line to add an hour or two of sun, the rich garden soil to replace the sandy mix that hasn’t been producing. But my April weekends got busy and the project never got beyond the planning stage, and now that it’s Mother’s Day, they’ve arrived in droves. According to local lore it’s officially “their season” until Father’s Day, leaving me quite under-motivated to go out and join them — or should I say feed them — in the yard. I’m speaking, of course, of black flies.
Since my first exposure to northern New England’s annual invasion of these in-your-face, pesky biters, I have joked — contrary to my theology — that surely God must have made a mistake when He created those! What possible redeeming value could He have had in mind when He designed the Simulium hirtipes? Apart from something like a biblical instrument of judgment (I wonder if the Egyptian “plague of flies” in Moses’ day involved this creature?), I’ve struggled to figure out a positive purpose that adequately offsets the severe nuisance factor of the little beasts.
Yet I know that when God finished creating the world and filling it, He looked at what He had made — including the black fly, I would presume — and declared that it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). And that’s the appraisal I choose to accept, whether or not I totally understand it. Perhaps the divine purpose has something to do with an important role that black flies play in the food chain — although that isn’t especially comforting when I’m on the “eaten” end of it! Maybe one day they will be the key to some great medical breakthrough.
Bottom line: God is good, and He doesn’t make mistakes. So we welcome whatever He allows to come our way, trusting that it all fits into His perfect plan. If we can do that with black flies, we can begin to do it with the more serious struggles and unexplained challenges of life.
Praise the Lord, and pass the bug spray.
This was originally published in the "Salt & Light" column of the May 14 Intertown Record.