A plague is upon us, friends. Cicadas. They’ve overtaken nearly all the trees in Columbia and throughout the rest of Missouri. Their shells and dead bodies cover the ground and tree branches. Their song rings in the air throughout the day, causing us to never forget their presence. After having a couple of unfortunate events with cicadas (i.e. finding one in my hair after entering our house, and having one fly into my head while reading outside) I can’t help but be annoyed with these pesty creatures. So I’m left asking myself, why did God create cicadas?
The Bible tells us God declared all of creation good and that all of creation is meant to glorify God. But how do cicadas fit into this? We see what may have been cicadas, sometimes referred to as locusts, in the Old Testament. Most of us are familiar with the story in Exodus of the ten plagues in Egypt, and are aware that the eighth plague was locusts. In Exodus 10, God sends locusts to infest all the land of Egypt. The Bible says “they covered the face of the whole land, so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant on the field; through all the land of Egypt” (Exodus 10:15). Can you imagine? We find ourselves frustrated with the cicadas we have now, when they are nowhere near as bad as the locusts that plagued Egypt. The 10 plagues of Egypt were a reminder to Pharaoh and his people that God was, and is, the Lord (Exodus 10:1-2). God used locusts to judge Pharaoh and his people. The locusts are described as eating all green things on the earth, and because of this, their destruction of plants and trees point us to God as our provider, and remind us that he is the creator and giver of life of all things. Yet, thankfully, the cicadas we have today aren’t doing nearly as much damage as the locusts in the Old Testament.
Despite the annoyance of their deafening chorus, cicadas are actually beneficial to the earth. Their dead bodies and shells act as fertilizer for plants, trees and flowers and they’re an abundant source of food for animals and people around the world (Sparky’s ice cream, anyone?)
God loves and cares for all of his creation, even cicadas. So as we have to deal with cicadas for the coming month, I challenge you all, despite how difficult it may be, to see at least a little bit of the beauty that God saw in creating them. Remember the fertilizer and food they’re providing for plants, trees, animals and humans. Hear beauty in the songs of their daily choir instead of just annoying, sometimes deafening, chirping. Remember that God created them and declared them good, along with the rest of creation, even if we may not see the goodness in them.