26th April 2017

Mosquitoes

But ask the animals what they thinklet them teach you; let the birds tell you what’s going on. Put your ear to the earthlearn the basics. Listenthe fish in the ocean will tell you their stories. Isn’t it clear that they all know and agree that God is sovereign, that he holds all things in his handEvery living soul, yes, every breathing creature? Isn’t this all just common sense, as common as the sense of taste?”
Job 12:7-11(MSG) 

I have a love-hate relationship with mosquitoes – they love me and I hate them. If there’s a room full of people, I’m the one who ends up one drop of blood less, followed by a painful red welt. Apparently, they are attracted to specific smells/chemicals, 85% of which is genetically programmed[i].

I once succumbed to cerebral malaria, a protozoan parasite spread by Anopheles mosquitoes – despite being smothered from head to toe in mosquito repellent, long trousers and long sleeved shirt. Would you believe it, they located a tiny space between two toes where I’d missed a bit? On a recent holiday, my husband and I were hiking a trail through a wetland bird sanctuary, and although smothered in repellent and clothing, I was painfully bitten through my jeans as I walked, providing great entertainment for my husband. With this background, I think I can be forgiven for asking why God created such irksome creatures. Someone said, “The good Lord didn’t create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.”

With a life-long interest in plants and pollinators, I have long marvelled at the complexities of plant-insect relationships. Some plant species depend on a single insect species to pollinate them for reproduction. Remove one and the other dies. In fact, whole ecosystems can fail when one species is removed, including mosquitoes.[ii]

That same holiday I discovered a purpose for mosquitoes. We visited a cloud forest orchid garden where we came face-to-face with an orchid pollinated exclusively by a mosquito. Our guide sprayed the plant with water to show how this tiny flower attracted its tiny visitor. Once moistened, a foetid smell of blood and iron was released; so strong we had to step back. Mosquito-pollinated orchids exist elsewhere, too.[iii]

As Job said, “put your ear to the earth…listen…” Uncovering various intricacies in the biological world that surrounds us undeniably reveals insight into God’s creative mind. The opening passage cited above is known as Job’s tribute to ‘Mother Nature’ that we know is God. Read chapters 38-40 to gain further insight into God and His purpose for everything in this world.

Prayer
Lord God, thank you for opening our eyes to your sovereignty in nature. Teach us to protect and nurture your creation.
Amen

Study by Irene Tibbenham

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[i] Mosquitoes are attracted by carbon dioxide, lactic acid and other body chemicals, as well as your body heat, and can sense these from 25-35 meters.   www.mosquito.org/faq#attracts

[ii] Walker, E. D., M. G. Kaufman, and R. W. Merritt. “An Acute Trophic Cascade among Microorganisms in the Tree Hole Ecosystem following Removal of Omnivorous Mosquito Larvae.” Community Ecology 11.2 (2010): 171-78. Web.

[iii] Thien, Leonard B., and Frederick Utech. “The Mode of Pollination in Habenaria Obtusata (Orchidaceae).” American Journal of Botany 57.9 (1970): 1031-035. Web.

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About the Author:
Irene Tibbenham is a deaconess in the Norwich Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Norwich
New Hope Christian Centre
Martineau Lane
NORWICH NR1 2HX

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Tony Goudie
Phone: 01508 498165
Mobile: 07931 580409
Email: tony_goudie@wcg.org.uk

 

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