Gnats, Really?

You know how I feel about summer hiking, and chances are, as the summer continues, you'll hear more about it than you care to. It's amazing to me how an activity that can be so pleasurable in the fall, winter and spring can be so completely miserable in the summer. I literally have to force myself to go out, and even then, I find myself coming home with a not-so-Christian attitude.

As I plodded down the winding path just a few days ago, one question permeated every fiber of my brain. Lord, why did you create gnats? Seriously, by the end of the hike I was truly wondering if they had been placed on earth just to annoy me. These critters have absolutely no clue what "personal space" is. They fly in my eyes, my ears, my nose and even my mouth. And it's truly a suicide mission because once they enter any of those areas, the chances of them coming out alive is slim.

So, as I battled with keeping a good attitude, I made a mental note to do a little research and find out the purpose of gnats. Believe it or not, they do actually have some purpose. For one thing, they act as a food source for many birds (which is fine by me). Evidently, they also aid in the decomposition of plant matter. I guess that's important. Other than that, I think maybe they are just tools for teaching patience. God certainly used them to remind me of a few things.

For example, just as I questioned the purpose of the gnat, I often question the purpose of trials in my life. Lord, why is this so hard? Why am I going through such a hard time? What are you trying to teach me through this? Just like the gnats, the trials are irritating and frustrating. They tire my body and darken my mood. They make my trip miserable instead of pleasurable. But just like the gnat, my trials have a purpose. I may not be able to do a search on Wikipedia to discover that purpose, but if I'll wait patiently, God will reveal it to me.

In the meantime, I'll just keep plodding along. It may not be the most enjoyable thing, but if there's one thing I've learned through the years, it's that both gnats and trials are worse if you're standing still.