Lightening Bugs


“While the earth, seedtime and harvest and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22

It was nearly dark when my husband and I left the barn after a busy day of farm chores and began our short walk to the house. To our surprise, in an area shaded by tall trees, an iridescent light show was in process— provided by lightening bugs (or fireflies). We both remembered from our childhood, the fun of catching lightening bugs and putting them in a jar. But lightening bugs don’t live in the desert of Arizona, so it had been many years since lightening bugs graced our home.

My first words were, “Only God could have created lightening bugs!” So true, but curiosity prompted me to learn more about these fascinating bugs. There are no flashing lightening bugs west of Kansas and they are exclusive to the Western hemisphere. They’re actually a winged beetle and use a cold light, with no infrared or ultraviolet frequency. This chemically produced light from the lower abdomen may be yellow, green, or pale red.

The light show is for mating purposes and once the eggs are laid, the female will die within 3-4 weeks. And don’t assume the flashes are random. In many locations, their light show is synchronized. And here’s the exciting information: the best location in the western hemisphere to see the synchronous fireflies is in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park! They say it’s an experience you will never forget. But what does a lightening bug have to do with God?

Scripture tells us that God takes pleasure in his creation. Five times in the Genesis account of creation, God steps back from his work and says, “and God saw that it was good”. I can almost see him stepping back from the lightening bug and saying ‘it is good’. Creating a watermelon, corn on the cob, strawberries, birds that fly, dogs that bark and cats that purr must have given him great satisfaction. Psalm 104 is a beautiful account of God’s creativity and it closes with:

“May the glory of the Lord continue forever! The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made! The earth trembles at his glance; the mountains smoke at his touch.”

God rejoices in his creation because it reveals his incomparable wisdom. Only God could create the beauty of the Grand Canyon and the galaxies too numerous to count. He is the intelligent designer/creator of the human body and the emotions we share.

“O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. Ps 104:24

God’s power shouts his glory and cannot be harnessed. Only God could create a hurricane, an ice storm or calm the raging sea. We are stunned when we see evidence of his power in a glacier moving ever so slowly.

We can stand in awe of our all-powerful, incomparable God, but I believe he has another motive in demonstrating his glory. I believe he wants us to see his glory, his sacrificial love and accept his plan of salvation. We see his sacrificial love throughout scripture and culminating in the virgin birth of Jesus, his only son. What love would compel the Almighty God to send his son to earth where he would be mistreated and maligned by the arrogant religious leaders of his day; rejected by his family and suffer the agony of crucifixion.

God’s love for us is one of many facets of his glory. It was his plan to spend eternity with us; but our sin nature had to be dealt with before we could enter Heaven. Made in his image, we have an innate longing to be with him and enjoy intimacy with him. Nothing else will do.

“...bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:6-7

God rejoices in the works of creation because they point us beyond ourselves to God himself. Those lightening bugs were created by our God so that we would stop long enough to acknowledge that only an all- powerful, omniscient Creator could be responsible for them. God’s creation brings praise to him but it also brings joy to him.

There are many things created by him that will never be seen by humans. Monsters of the sea, galaxies that are light years from Earth and microscopic organisms yet to be discovered by scientists are all created by our Father for his joy and to proclaim his glory. All of creation is an expression of his glory; his power; and his incomparable wisdom.

Can you see his hand and his glory in something new today? He would probably enjoy hearing you thank and praise him for something specific in his creation.

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.” Psalm 19:1-2


Carol Nahm and husband Chris, a local OBGYN, relocated to Cookeville from Phoenix in search of four seasons and a slower pace of life.  They've been at the River since 2009.  Carol serves as a lay-counselor at The River where she started the Stephen Ministry and now leads Mending the Soul, a ministry for victims of sexual and domestic abuse.

River Community Church