You Need the Good and the Bad

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I hate ants. It started when I was only four. My good friend Jeff inadvertently sat on a red ant mound. His mother rushed in and pulled down his pants and started swatting the biting ants off while Jeff, naked and exposed, ran in circles of pain.

I vowed then and there never to let that happen to me. The only good ant is a dead ant. When I met fire ants, my hatred of the little six legged villains reached new heights.

All of this brings me to a dilemma. I hate ants, but I enjoy butterflies. You say, “So what. Enjoy the butterfly and kill the ant.” It’s not so simple. Many butterflies owe their existence to ants. They have a weird sort of dependent relationship. Some varieties of caterpillars have the ability to fool ants with their scents. Some even know how to call the ants by vibrating their heads against their bodies.

One of the more bizarre dependent relationships between butterfly and ant is the Large Blue Butterfly. The Large Blue attracts ants with a clicking vibration. The ants take the caterpillar back to the mound and milk to periodically. While the ants snack on the Blue Caterpillar milk, it feasts on their larva.

Several years ago people in England started missing the Large Blue Butterfly. When entomologists investigated they discovered that the Large Blues were extinct in England because the red ants were gone. English farmers had cut their grass too short. This made the bitter winters unbearable for the red ants. When the ants left England so did the butterflies.

So here is the principle: Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good.

(Proverbs 16:4) The LORD has made everything for its own purpose,

Grady Nut said, “All rain makes a swamp and all sunshine makes a desert.” You need the blend of both: the good and the bad. And so we have rain and sunshine, light and darkness, law and grace, joy and sadness. One is necessary to fully enjoy the other.

(Ecclesiastes 3: 1) There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

Try to remember that the next time you find yourself knee deep in ants.

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