It is summertime and I enjoy sitting on the deck with my husband in the evening until we start to hear the hum of insects in our ears. I brush the little flying creatures away with my hand. It helps for a little bit but soon I hear a concert of buzzing sounds. The melody of the mosquitoes crescendos and becomes more persistent. Then I feel a prick on my ankle – I have been bit. We can only ignore these irritations for a limited amount of time. The song of the insects and their itchy irritations reveal to us that the mosquitoes have arrived. Our peaceful evening has been disturbed by these persistent pesky predators. We decide to go indoors for the remainder of the evening in order to escape the consequences of these summertime pests.
Once inside, I am reminded of the phrase “insect worries” that I have heard. Although the mosquito is a small insect, its bite can be very irritating to the skin just as worries can be bothersome to our hearts and minds. What can I learn from our encounter with the mosquitoes?
First of all, a mosquito bite can be hard to ignore. I want to scratch the itchy area where there is a visible welt from the bug bite. However, scratching only irritates the site of the insect’s poison and the more I scratch it, the more sensitive my skin becomes. The same scenario can occur regarding worry because when I yield to the temptation to worry about something, my anxiousness increases rather than decreases. One little irritating thought can create concern in my mind. If I dwell upon this aggravation, I become exasperated. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? And He concludes this passage in Matthew 6:34 saying, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Scratching will not help a bug bite and neither will worry help our concerns.
Most everyone will experience a few encounters with the mosquito during the summer. Although not a cure, my mother had a home remedy for treating these bites. She would put a little baking soda in her hand along with a couple of drops of water to make a paste that she would then apply to the welt of the insect’s attack. It actually drew out the poison of the bite and relieved the itchiness. Maybe there is a lesson for me on how to handle my worries. I Peter 5:6-7 NLT says, “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” Instead of the paste in my mother’s hand, I can find the cure for my worries when I yield to the hand of God. Jesus promises in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The Lord will handle my worries like my mother helped my itchy mosquito bites.
One way to avoid mosquito bites is to apply insect repellent to the skin before going outdoors. Being proactive against bites from irritating bugs can be beneficial. The same is true regarding worries that want to invade my mind. Luke 21: 14 says, “But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.” Philippians 4:6-7 NLT says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” My spiritual repellent guards my heart similarly to how insect repellent can guard by skin against insect bites.
Will I get mosquito bites during the summer? Yes. Will I worry at times? Yes. Jesus says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” My current thief may be as small as a tiny summertime insect or as big as the most overwhelming anxious thought within me. I do not want either a mosquito or a worry to steal my peace and joy in the Lord. I can slap a mosquito in hopes of killing it before it bites me. I can also destroy worries by focusing upon Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” The psalmist says in Psalm 73:25, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Throughout life, my flesh will experience the discomfort of mosquito bites and my heart will fail because of worry. However, God will always be my strength for whatever I encounter.
Most likely the phrase “insect worries” originally referred to the fact that our worries are only as small as insects when placed in the hands of God. I agree with that concept but it has been fun to compare how we react to bug bites and how we react to what is bugging us.
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