“THEY CRIED TO THE LORD IN THEIR TROUBLE,
and he delivered them from their distress” (Psalm 107:28 ESV).
Oh yeah? Parents do that all the time with their kids. Even when the kids grow up. Why doesn’t the Bible talk about that?
There’s nothing in the Bible that says fathers have to kill cicadas that get inside a house or a tent and freak out the kids. For what we can tell, all a dad like me would have to say is “Fear not. Go back to sleep.”
I know about this because I just did a word search for “freak out” and “cicada.”
By the way, the search for “cicada” took me to Bible passages about locusts. Not the same. Desert locusts look like grasshoppers. Cicadas look like a horsefly swollen on steroids and dressed for a Halloween party on the theme of “Alien vs. the Predator.”
I did find a Jewish law that talks about them indirectly:
“The only winged insects you may eat are locusts, grasshoppers, and crickets. All other winged insects that crawl are too disgusting for you to eat” (Leviticus 11:20 CEV).
Some laws are easier to swallow than others.
Interrupting a Tom Selleck movie
It was pushing 12:30 a.m. yesterday when I got the text, about halfway through an old Tom Selleck movie that hasn’t aged well.
Daughter child had just finished nursing my grandson and letting the dogs outside for one last potty break of the night.
In flew a cicada. It parked itself on a living room lamp and screamed a cicada rap song.
Daughter child has a heightened and irrational fear of cicadas. Truly, she does freak out around them and makes squealing girly sounds that scare dogs.
She texted me about it, saying she layered the lamp with blankets and towels. Assuming I was asleep, she asked if I would come over in the morning.
I texted her back, asking if she needed a late-night visit.
She responded, in part, “Are you still up? I can’t sleep thinking about it…I’m panicking.”
“I’m on my way,” I wrote.
Actually, I needed some excitement after half of this particular Tom Selleck movie, with him as a cop that chased down runaway computerized appliances and farming equipment.
It struck me odd that while daughter child’s husband is away on a hunting trip deep in remote mountain forest, his wife is home fighting Mother Nature’s insect from Area 51.
When I arrived at her home, the layered lamp smelled odd. I learned, after picking up the entire lamp and table to carry it outside, that daughter child had sprayed the entire pile with two kinds of poison.
There I stood, hugging the poison as she told me.
We could add that to an updated version of the Bible, editing it into the verse:
“They’ll pick up snakes with their bare hands. If they drink deadly poison, it won’t hurt them—not at all” (Mark 16:18 Casual English Bible).
Don’t do that, by the way. That verse isn’t in the oldest and most reliable copies of Mark.
I wobbled the lamp, table, and mountain of chirping cloth through the back door, then out onto the deck.
I set the table down and started peeling off the layers. There were dish towels, hand towels, and baby blankets.
Watching intently as they stood beside me were the family’s two border collies: Tucker and Bailey.
I heard the cicada chirping under the cloth, but in the dark I never saw it.
I explained to my daughter what happened, as she filmed me for her Facebook page.
“I’ve got good news and bad news,” I said. “Which do you want?”
She wanted both.
“The good news is that it’s gone. The bad news is that Tucker ate it.”
I told her that though I never saw it, I heard the crunch, crunch, crunch as Tucker chewed it.
Why so little family love in the Bible?
I’ve often wondered why the Bible writers didn’t encourage family members to love each other and help each other out.
Maybe they presume we don’t need prodding because we’re wired to love our kids more than we love Tom Selleck. (No offence, Tom.) In Bible times, big families were the rule for survival’s sake.
You don’t mess with a woman who has a dozen brothers. Shechem did, with Diana. “Prince Shechem raped her. He was a son of the town ruler” (Genesis 34:2 Casual English Bible). He ended up circumcised and dead. So did all the other men in town. The brothers went a little overboard. Their father, Jacob, gave them a good talking to.
Maybe that’s it. By nature, we look out for our fellow family members. Even the dogs do. Tucker certainly did, unless they don’t feed him enough.
Still, it would be nice to see it there in writing.
“Children, do what your parents say. Jesus wants you to obey them. It’s the right thing to do” (Ephesians 6:1 Casual English Bible).
“Fathers, don’t antagonize your kids. That can spiral them down into a depression” (Colossians 3:21 Casual English Bible).
Why not something like this in a how-to addendum:
“Parents, protect your girly girls from anything that makes them scream so high that only dogs can hear them” (Inspired Proverbs of Steve, book 7).
“Fathers, don’t write about your kids in blog articles or tell stories about them in public without their permission, unless you are preaching. In that case, tell nothing but stories because nobody is going to remember anything else you say” (Biblical Hermeneutics of Steve, vol.1).