Friday, November 9, 2018

Outdoor Object Lesson 77: Fear Not Bats

Key Text

“He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness; he brings light to the deepest gloom.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭12:22‬ ‭(NLT‬‬)


Some animals instantly give people the creeps. There is one that is especially scary. It only comes out at night, maneuvers unseen and unheard in the shadows, it is a swift and fearsome hunter. It has claws on its featherless wings and fangs in its jaw. It dwells deep underground where few other creatures can go. By now you may have figured out the animal is a bat!

These creatures are popular at Halloween and usually associated with scary movies and stories. Many people mistakenly fear them because of this. In fact, bats are impressive creatures and there is little reason to be afraid of them. Bats are unusual which may make them seem scary. They live in dark caves and hang upside down. Bats are really interesting creatures. They live on every continent except Antarctica. They grow up to almost 7 oz (190 g) and can have a wingspan of 40 inches (1 m) which is over three feet. The smallest bat is known as the bumblebee bat (Craseonycteridae thonglongyai) and only measures about 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) long and is basically a flying fur-ball. Seen in the daylight bats are not really scary at all. Their fuzzy faces can look quite cute.

Not all bats live in caves, some roost in trees similar to birds. They are able to “see” in the dark by making a high pitch noise and listening to how the sound waves are changed when bouncing off objects around them. This is called echolocation. Bats of course eat insects but this is not all they eat. Many species eat fruits, flower nectar and leaves.1 You may have heard of the vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) which sucks blood. While there is a real vampire bat, our fear makes them seem more threatening than they are. Vampire bats primarily target large animals such as horses and cows and rarely target humans. Bats are small animals and it would be impossible for them to kill a large animal or even a human by sucking its blood as they only take a small amount. While these bats sound scary we don’t need to fear them any more than other wild animals.2

There are over 1,300 bat species in the world, many of which are helpful to humans. The brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), which is common in the USA, can eat 1000 small insects per hour. That’s a lot of mosquitoes one bat can eat in its 40 plus year life.1 Bats help keep mosquitoes at bay which means there are less to bother you and I. Bats may seem mysterious or scary, but when you learn about them, and get to seen them in the light they are not so scary after all. It is similar with many things in life. We often feel scared and afraid of things we don’t understand. It is ok to feel fear. But we don’t need to let it control us. Jesus already knows everything. We don’t even need to fear evil forces. As it says in the key text, God uncovers that which is covered in darkness and everything that seems scary no longer is. We do not need to fear anything because God is greater than all our fears. When we see things in the light of God’s peace, things are no longer so scary, and may even turn out to be cute and fuzzy, just like the bat. (See John 14:27)


What animals do you find scary?

Is it a sin to feel fear?

Jesus repeatedly encouraged his followers not to fear anything. What can we do when we feel fear?

What does it mean to fear God?


1. Alina Bradford. “Bats: Fuzzy Flying Mammals.” October 24, 2018. Live Science. Accessed November 9, 2018 from
2. “Common Vampire Bat.” 2015. National Geographic online. Accessed on November 9, 2018 from

Written by David F. Garner
Photo credit: ntrief via