If you could banish one species of plant or animal from the earth forever, which would you choose? Would it be snakes? Poison ivy? I’ve often heard mosquitoes mentioned as a popular candidate for banishment. For me, it’d be beetles. Ladybugs specifically.
I know, I know, some people LOVE ladybugs. I get it–they’re kinda cute, I guess. They’re a bright, attractive red with neat little spots. But after an unusually large hatch of them infiltrated our house for a series of autumns in my childhood, I can’t stand them. Everything about them–their little wings that stick out the back, their flat eyes, the stink they give off when frightened–makes my skin crawl.
Objectively, ladybugs, and beetles in general, are good insects. Beneficial, in fact. They don’t harm anything and actually eat aphids and other smaller pests that can damage plants. That bad smell is just a defense mechanism to keep bigger critters from eating them.
But when there’s a ladybug near me, I don’t think of the good. I think of what it tasted and felt like when I accidentally got one in my mouth because it was hiding out in my open pop can. I remember the sound of dozens of them skittering across the inside of my bedroom window enjoying the warm sunlight. I recall the unpleasant surprise of one landing on my face while I was trying to fall asleep.
For you, it might be something else you struggle to find the good in. Maybe it’s mosquitos (actually an important food source for many other species). Or maybe thunderstorms (frightening but vital for many of the earth’s natural processes). Or dandelions (weed or wildflower?).
The point is that we often struggle to see the good in things. We look at them through the lens of our experience rather than a big picture view. Although I look at ladybugs and see gross beetles, that’s not what God sees. God knows intimately all that went into the little insect’s design and all the big and tiny things that are possible because of its existence.
Admittedly, there are things in our world that are the result of the Fall and objectively not good. I’m sure Garden of Eden variety mosquitoes (if there were any) didn’t bite people and transmit diseases. And the hardships and heartaches we currently experience weren’t part of the original design for us. However, God can use even hardship for good.
We often ask “why” when faced with life events that are hard to deal with. Why did my loved one get in a car accident? Why did I get sick at this particular time? From our perspective, they may seem pointless and horrible. But God may be doing something bigger. When we try to see as God sees, we may find good even in things we’d rather do without.