Ah! Summer in Iowa. Humidity. Weeks of 90 degree weather and pre-dawn thunderstorms or no rain at all. We've arrived at county fair time, no doubt. You can count on the extreme heat to roast the poor fair animals and their exhibitors, or muddy messy fairgrounds to maneuver, or both.
This summer we have Japanese Beetles in Ankeny. I noticed a random few last summer because they were different than any bug I'd seen before. They are an iridescent copper-colored insect, about the size of the tip of my pinky finger. They fly around haphazardly often bumping into me with a light thud. If they fall on their backs, they rarely get back up. They seem to be attracted to tight spaces or damp places, often gathering inside my rain gauge.
This year I noticed they were eating the leaves on my green beans and tomatoes and my neighbor found them eating her flowers. We noticed a neighbor a couple blocks away who had bags hanging in her yard. So we decided that must be the thing to do. We got "Bug Bags" equipped with an attractant that hangs over the hourglass-shaped bag. The Japanese Beetles fly into the fragrant piece then end up falling into the bag. They are such awkward bugs; they don't seem to be able to get back out. The problem is the bugs don't die. They just keep piling up until the bag is overflowing with hundreds of squirmy bugs.
John believes we have attracted these bugs from Nebraska, Missouri and Minnesota, so far. We have filled six of these bags and there is no sign of them slowing down. We have been taking the full bags, tying the top shut, putting the bag inside a double layered grocery bag and putting them in the garbage. We did that once. Then when our garage began to smell like something very dead or nasty we decided we would put the wrapped bags outside the garage until we could dispose of them. Every day we have another bag full of these bugs. And more keep coming.
That must be what it was like when God sent the plagues upon Pharaoh. First there were gnats, followed by flies, and then later locusts covered everything, eating away, buzzing around, flying into you. Nasty. Although the one beetle shown on my green beans looks pretty innocent, when joined by thousands of his family members it is just gross.
"This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and even the ground where they are," (Exodus 8:20-21 NIV).
I don't think it would have taken 10 plagues to convince me to release the Hebrews. One bout of gnats and I would have given in. But Pharaoh's heart was very hard. He had a good thing going with all that slave labor.
Lord God, thank you for the freedom to worship You as I desire. Thank you for all of Your Creation, even the Japanese Beetles. Help me remember how You are always there for Your believers, no matter what our days may hold. I love you, Lord. Amen.