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God’s Creation & Critters – Ticks & Spiders

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all.

(by Cecil Alexander)

I love this hymn written by Mrs. Alexander, and I know that God made all creatures, but I have to question God’s wisdom in making ticks. Ick! This has been a horrible year thus far at North Valley for ticks. In early spring, I pulled one off me daily for a week. I just took one off my cheek as I’m writing this. Ick!

I am continually rubbing my arms and legs and sliding my fingers through my hair. I just can’t help myself…once you have those creepy crawlers on you… well, you just don’t want them again!

I was amazed but terrified to see a bunch of ticks hatching a few years ago on the deck. It seemed like hundreds were going every direction, looking like tiny little “seeds” with legs. Even though I loathe ticks, I really wanted to find out if there was any useful purpose for them in the great scheme of things. I got out my trusty, “ancient” World Book encyclopedia and also scanned the internet. I did find out some interesting things about ticks, but nothing that made me think the world is a better place because they are in it, especially since they are carriers of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and a few other diseases

I discovered that these parasites are not really insects, they are arachnids, related to spiders and mites (“no see-ums”). They are one of the oldest creatures in the world, dating back to 90 million years or even earlier. Apparently, one of their purposes is to keep the population of larger life forms in check. Ticks can kill giraffes and moose.

Spiders, on the other hand, are interesting creatures to me. I usually notice daddy long legs and the regular basement spiders, but this year I’ve seen some I couldn’t identify. Spiders amaze me with their web spinning abilities. Did you know the webs are actually made out of silk? The silk comes from spinnerets from the end of a spider’s abdomen. Spiders can produce up to six different types of silk.

Spiders are usually harmless, but I do have a healthy respect for them since I’ve had medical treatment for 2 spider bites (not around here – one from Zimbabwe and one from northern MN). If you see puncture marks with a lot of redness and swelling, get to the doctor! Same thing with ticks, especially if you think you’ve been bitten by a deer tick…most of you know about the telltale red ring rash.

I know of some in our congregation who have battled Lyme disease and continue to battle it when a new symptom appears. How many of you have Lyme disease or know of someone who does? What or who has been the biggest help?

So, OK, God, spiders, yes, but really… ticks? Just like many things in this earthly life, we will never have our questions answered. Isaiah 55:8-9 comes to mind: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” So be it.

Next week I promise to have a little bit more fun with the wildlife around North Valley! Blessings until then.

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