I have often made the comment, especially while itching around little pink bumps, “What good purpose could God have for mosquitoes?” Colossians 1:16 reminds me He has indeed created all things for his good purposes, but mosquitoes? Are you sure?
Corrie Ten Boom asked this same question about lice and fleas. Corrie was a Christian in Holland during World War II. She and her family were able to hide many Jewish people and help them to safety before she was caught and sent to a Nazi death camp. You can read her story in the amazing autobiography, The Hiding Place. There were several stories from her life that impacted me, but one in particular was a story about Corrie’s encounter with God’s good purposes for lice and fleas.
Upon arriving to the death camp, Corrie’s sister Betsy looked to God to find joy in their new dark surroundings by thanking Him for any blessings they could see around them. She thanked Him for allowing her and Corrie to be together, for miraculously letting them smuggle their Bible into the camp, for all the people they could share the love of Jesus with, for food and beds, etc. Corrie also gave thanks for many things Betsy mentioned, but when Betsy thanked God for the lice and fleas that infested the beds in the bunk house, Corrie insisted it was silly to thank God for such awful things and thought Betsy a bit crazy for doing so. I agreed.
Although guards were everywhere in the camp, always keeping a close watch, the one place they never set foot was in the bunk houses. This gave Corrie and Betsy the opportunity to host Bible studies, sing hymns, and share the love and hope of Jesus with their fellow prisoners in their barracks without ever being interrupted or interrogated by a guard. This freedom was curious to Corrie and Betsy until one day, several days after being in the camp, Betsy discovered why. “Corrie,” she said with excitement, “do you know why the guards don’t come in our bunk house? It’s because they’re afraid of getting lice and fleas!” Then Corrie realized the lice and fleas infesting their beds did indeed serve a good purpose and were a gift for which they could be thankful.
I still struggle to come up with a good purpose for mosquitoes. And, I still find it difficult to thank God for them or for lice or fleas. But, I love the reminder this story brings, that though I cannot come up with any good purpose for mosquitoes myself, God--who sees all and who has infinite wisdom--has seen a purpose for them and has created them for such.
As I write this today, my question of “Why mosquitoes?” seems trivial in comparison to my questions of, “Why did my friend’s husband betray her?” “Why did a local mother and her two children have to encounter a seemingly senseless death in a house fire?” “Why is cancer ravaging the bodies of so many of our church family?” And the list goes on. But, God’s answer to the trivial question of “Why mosquitoes?” and to the much more heavy question of “Why this pain and suffering?” is the same answer. I believe, based on several passages in the Bible, His answer to me would be something like this, “Beloved, Katie, don’t you know that I see all things and know all things. I see how these seemingly ugly pieces of the puzzle fit into the bigger and beautiful picture I have designed. You see a puzzle scrambled, and I see it perfectly complete.” I can trust that my all-knowing Heavenly Father indeed does know best. More importantly, I can trust, as Corrie Ten Boom did, that all the pieces of life’s puzzle, even those seemingly ugly pieces with mosquitoes, lice, Nazi death camps, betrayal, suffering, and loss, were designed and fashioned into place out of His great love for us. For we know “greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). And God demonstrated this great act of love for us in that “while we were still sinners (not even friends of God, but estranged, unworthy, and rebellious), Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8) and rose again, promising us a restored future with Him.
If His love for us is indeed this great, how can we question His good purposes in all things? How wonderful that I have the freedom to ask the question “why” but at the same time trust He has the perfect answer--an answer that I too, if able to see the whole picture, would deem perfect and necessary--even those darn mosquitoes.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
By Katie Miller
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