ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL
I have such vivid memories of singing this hymn at primary school, probably the first one where I knew all the words by heart. I joined mid-year through what would now be Year 2, having lived overseas until then attending an international school where we were taught in Spanish and to loop our cursive writing. On joining my CofE English primary, I soon had to unloop my handwriting and learn to sing hymns.
I heard the hymn recently and was struck by the lines
All creatures great and small ….
The Lord God made them all.
In recent weeks I have had an unhappy encounter with some of God’s smaller creatures. We own a business overseas and discovered that what appeared to be a rotting fascia board was in fact a major termite infestation; the critters had taken up residence in the roof and eaten through two layers of plywood, the thermal insulation and even made an attempt on the plastic gutters. Lockdown had provided an undisturbed playground. By the time of our discovery the termites were long gone but I still did not feel benignly towards them.
Perhaps not on the same scale, but everyone has a bad brush with the insect population now and then. Midge swarms in Scotland, wasps on summer picnics, caterpillars in the allotment or mosquito bites to defy Boots’ entire antihistamine stock.
Just as God made man, he also created termites. Just as we all have a purpose, so do termites. And when you’re disbursing large sums of money to deal with the consequences of a termite infestation and further sums to prevent it reoccurring, it can be very challenging to remember this.
Termites apparently play a vital role in our eco-system, especially in forests, as they feed on dead and fallen trees and leave behind vital nutrients to refurbish the soil and enable new plants to grow. Without them our forests would be clogged with dead trees. Who knew?!
Likewise, the pesky mosquito. Some may argue that before the Fall, there was no disease so mosquitos were simply a type of small fly, rather than being carriers of life-threatening diseases and summer holiday bloodsuckers. Yet they are part of our eco-system, providing food for frogs, lizards and bats and pollinating plants.
My experience with the devastation termites can wreak has reminded me that, as in so many things, it’s not for us to question God’s wisdom and purpose; there are far more things we don’t know than we do know. He put us all on this Earth for a reason.
Ephesians 2:10 certainly resonates with me when it comes to grappling with this truth: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
I am slowly making peace with the termites …..