Every animal was created by God, so each animal has a part to play in God’s Creation—including animals we hate. The animals we hate the most could actually help us in our quest to protect the land, if we give them a chance. If we leave them alone we might reap the benefits.
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another post in my new series, Natural Wisdom.
If you missed the previous post, Natural Wisdom is about the many lessons God teaches through nature if we’re willing to listen. Working in and with nature is a very Spiritual activity, and we gain many Christian insights by being and working outside, gardening, and so on.
Looks can be deceiving. We all know that, right?? Heh heh. Well, we’re supposed to know it. Sometimes we still get that very basic lesson wrong even when we know better. I wrote a post by this very title a few months ago. Check out #shorts Part 27—Looks Can Be Deceiving.
God’s beautiful Creation, nature, has many kinds of animals and insects in it. Some of these animals are cute, friendly, and humans have a positive view of them. Dogs, for example, are beloved by people all around the world. Most people view dogs positively and associate them with good things.
But God Created other animals that don’t get the same kind of warm feelings from us. Creepy insects, slimy slugs, sneaky snakes, there are many animals in nature that people view negatively. People are afraid of them in some cases, or they may have negative associations about these animals. In any case, mankind doesn’t like these animals as much as the ones we view as positive.
And yet, as I said above, looks can be deceiving. Just because we don’t like an animal, what it does, or how it looks doesn’t mean it’s not a “good” animal. First off, we already know it’s good because God made it and said it was good when He inspected His work. So all the life on earth, including the insects and so on, are good.
So let’s consider a few animals that may have negative images, and see how they have value to God and to us if we look beyond the surface.
Three Friends with bad Reps
There are many, many hated animals I could have put on today’s list. But I had to get this blog post written, and I don’t have time to research animals forever. So I picked three that came to mind and ran with it. So here are three animals with negative associations that actually help us out if we leave them alone.
So many people are deathly afraid of spiders. It’s one of the most common phobias in the world. On the surface it seems like there are good reasons to be scared of them. They look evil, it doesn’t feel good to see them crawling around, and some varieties are poisonous.
But the truth is, spiders are always good for the land they live on. They help the land. Spiders are a natural pest control; God’s pest control. Spiders catch and kill many insects including ones that are harmful to our agriculture efforts. This makes spiders good protection for the plants we want to grow. The more spiders we have, the more protection they provide. Spiders kill a lot of insects by following the natural programming God gave them.
For this reason and a few others, I never kill spiders when I see them. Over time I’ve gotten used to their presence. Now I don’t mind seeing them or even being surprised by them. To me, they have become part of the natural landscape and environment I live in. I appreciate what they do for me, which they do without any input, care, or management from me—so convenient!! All I have to deal is not kill them when I see them. That creates a very profitable trade-off for the pest control labor I get in return.
That’s right; snakes. So many people around the world hate them. And many Christians hate them because they represent or symbolize the devil, in their mind. That means snakes are evil animals, right??
We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). That includes animal flesh and blood. Tell me, what animal in this world opposes us on a Spiritual level?? What animal in this world seeks to obstruct us on our quest to follow Christ?? What animal in this world could even understand that??
Think about that, and there you have your answer. Our enemies are Spiritual enemies: demon spirits. Although some of these spirits are associated with or represented by animals, no animal in this world—including snakes—opposes us on a Spiritual level.
The snake represents the devil to many people around the world. But it goes without saying that a snake we find in the garden or the woods is not the devil. It’s superstitious to think so, and that level of superstition shows a lack of Faith in the LORD. Superstitions are not a good thing to have because they ascribe too much power to something that is not the LORD. It’s not a healthy habit to see snakes as an “ill omen” or anything like that. Instead we should recognize them as a natural part of the ecosystem when we see them.
Snakes have their role to play in God’s ecosystem, because God designed them to have this role. They fit into God’s Creation because that’s His Will. Who are we to say otherwise?? We don’t have to like snakes, but we should refrain from killing them if we don’t need to**. They are God’s creatures too, after all.
**There are no poisonous snakes where I live. If there were, I would consider those a danger and a valid target. At the same time, they too play a role in the ecosystem. So there would also be situations when I would leave them alone. Everyone has to use their judgment.
If we leave snakes alive, one thing they do is kill rats and mice. Rats and mice are common garden and compost-pile pests. They go straight for our growing vegetables or decomposing compost piles, and we want to keep them away from those things.
We could trap and kill rats and mice during the daylight hours, when we’re awake. But these rodents are more active at night. Here is where the snake can help us out. While we’re sleeping, and completely unaware of a rat making a beeline for our latest crop, a snake that we left alive can catch it and kill it. What could be better??
In other words, snakes can provide valuable pest control. Perhaps that was God’s Plan for them; seems reasonable. Everything, even the most despised and distrusted animal, has a role to play, and God is the one who Designed it this way. So let’s not question His handiwork, but work with what we see in nature.
Speaking of killing rats and mice though, the next animal does it even better.
I know many of you will question why cats are on this list. But there were once many superstitions linking cats with the devil, and in some parts of the world those ideas have survived.
Of course, superstitions against cats are very rare these days. Christians around the world have no problem with cats and many keep them as pets. Most of the superstitions about cats being agents of the devil died out centuries ago. But some people in the world could still have anti-cat bias because of these superstitions, even now.
As for the benefit of having cats on the land, that’s clear. Nothing kills rats and mice better than cats do. Snakes eat slowly, and don’t hunt again until they’ve digested their last meal. But cats are rat and mice killing machines. I bet that cats can kill ten times as many rats and mice as the snakes do.
I count myself lucky that there are a bunch of stray cats in my neighborhood these days. I don’t know where they came from, but the cat population around here exploded. I’m happy when I see one, because I know they’re on the hunt in my neighborhood. Rats aren’t a common sight at my place, but they will definitely show up more as my vegetables start growing. I’m confident though, with all these cats around, that the rats won’t be a problem. The best part is I don’t do anything to care or provide for the stray cats. I don’t know exactly where they live, and they clearly provide for all their own needs in their own way. Effortless rat control, in other words. Who doesn’t want that??
Everything Has a Role to Play
There are many more animals I could mention, but these are the ones that came to mind. I did consider swapping out cats on this list with snails (natural decomposers; quite useful), but I chose these three. But the specific animals are not the point of today’s blog post. The point is that when it comes to God’s Creation, nature, we need to look beyond surface level appearances and look for hints of God’s Character in the living creatures He made. Looking beyond surface level appearances to see a feared animal’s worth and value is a lesson God wants to teach us, through nature.
God teaches us in the Bible not to judge by appearances, like God does not judge by appearances. What’s there to stop us from applying this to the natural world too?? It clearly seems to me like the right choice to make. If we look beyond a spider’s evil outward appearance, for example, it will help us out a lot if we leave it alone. So it pays off for us if we avoid being judgmental.
But most importantly, let’s remember that these animals are also God’s Creatures, like we are. For that reason alone let’s respect them and let them be. Only when it’s absolutely necessary should we ever eliminate them (poisonous spiders or snakes, etc.). Otherwise, we should let them be … and they might pay us back for our kindness!!
That’s it for Natural Wisdom Part 2. I hope you enjoy my new series!! Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.
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