Last night, during worship, the Holy Spirit was present, and it was evident. As I led a song called “Mercy” I felt as though our team got in the devil’s face and crushed him. It was so empowering to recognize the authority that we have in Christ, and I felt the unyielding power of God until I came home and saw a big, ugly roach crawling around on the food in our pantry. During the rare, yet terrifying moments when this happens, I call for Michael to handle it while I crouch somewhere in a corner waiting for him to tell me that it’s gone. The last roach I saw lost his battle to our new dog, Oliver, and now the count stands at 5 roaches in this place since we moved here one year ago.
I’m aware that I have an unhealthy and irrational fear of bugs – even bugs that don’t bite. I can’t stand them! I feel terrorized by them even when they’re not bothering me at all. This is an area where God is working in my life, but there’s clearly more work to do. I’ve had scriptures posted in my home for over a year now related this very topic, but that didn’t stop me from feeling defeated, at least momentarily, last night.
Michael was 130 miles away, and it was late. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I sat on the sofa and felt violated for a moment. I talked about it with friends before talking about it with God. I put on worship music and asked Him for peace. I know that His peace is always available to me, but I don’t always choose to access it when I’m struggling with something. When I asked for peace, I felt His presence, and I remembered the authority that I have to live without fear! I began worshipping him and decided that I would, in fact, go to sleep tonight instead of trying to run from the bug. I woke up well rested this morning.
I wish I could say that I’m no longer afraid of bugs and that I now choose to live in harmony with them, but that’s not true. I still haven’t looked in the pantry. Thankfully, my iced coffee was in the fridge, and nothing I needed to make my veggie shake was in the pantry either. Praise God!
Seriously though…I spend so much time thinking about the Lord’s goodness, His faithfulness, and His mercy. He’s so good. He’s the Creator of everything including that roach, so why should I fear anything if I’m in His presence? And why should I fear a harmless roach that He created?
As I reflect on this issue, I see that this is an area of my weakness that the enemy is trying to exploit. It tempts me to fall back into the old habit of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Here’s what it looks like in my mind…
Me: I saw a roach, and Oliver killed it. Wow, Oliver! Good dog! You’ve definitely earned your keep!
Also me: Oh no. What will happen if I see another roach t any point in the future? Does this mean that somewhere in our tidy home, there’s a band of roaches waiting to come and take over the place?
Me: I know I’m being ridiculous. Four roaches in one year in south Louisiana does not constitute an infestation.
Also me: Oh my goodness! There’s another roach! Now that the count is up to 5, we should consider moving…tonight! How am I supposed to sleep here knowing that there’s a bug in the house????
I used to live with chronic anxiety, and it felt normal. For years it was the only way of life I knew, but several years ago, as I began pursuing the Lord, my fears and anxiety started to subside. I found peace in Jesus. I started experiencing restful sleep every night, and I never want to go back to the uneasy, unsettled feelings I used to experience as I waited for the other shoe to drop. Whenever I’m tempted to worry or feel afraid, I read Proverbs 3:24-26, which clearly says that we do not need to worry or live in fear.
God has delivered me from so much anxiety, fear, bitterness, anger, disappointment, and shame, but the fact is that the enemy is very real and active. He hates what the Lord is doing in me, and the Bible says that he prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
As Christians, it’s easy for us to talk about the struggles and the sin we lived in before we knew Jesus, but it can be harder to talk about what we’re struggling with right now. There seems to be a perception that if we’re struggling now, we must not really be in a relationship with the Lord, but that’s not true. Nor is it biblical.
Jesus was tempted by the devil in Matthew 4, and he responded to his tactics with God’s Word. And while it may seem silly, I was tempted to give into fear last night. Even now, as I know that yucky bug is lurking, I am making the uncomfortable choice to surrender my fears – irrational or not, to the Lord.
I am replacing my fear with worship, and I’m choosing to believe that God is willing and able to change my heart toward bugs. It sounds so ridiculous, but I need the Lord’s help in this. I’m going to continue seeking Him and drawing closer to Him, and I know that He will give me the courage to face the next tiny beast who threatens to steal my joy.
Paul didn’t let the enemy steal his joy even when he was in prison, so I’m not going to let fear steal my joy today either.
This is my prayer today…
Thank you, Lord, for your mercy. You are sovereign and trustworthy and unfailing. I love you, Lord. Thank you for being patient with me even when it’s difficult for me to trust you. Thank you for your peace that surpasses our understanding, which is available to each of us at every moment and in every situation. Thank you for your great love for us! Change my heart. Help me to trust you and to constantly meditate on your faithfulness, remembering that You are the Creator of everything, gracious, and unchanging. In your name, I pray, amen!