Choosing When to Battle

Insects and spiders are trying to take over my home. I don’t kill, instead I practice a catch and release strategy so it is possible the same damn spider is sneaking back in.  I am considering grabbing one of Plum’s Sharpies to start tagging my catch before placing it back out in the wild. Everyone else in the family shrieks when they see these huge spiders skittering across the floor, I get it, if it were a mouse I would be up on a chair myself. But spiders build intricate webs that I truly find breathtaking, OUTSIDE.  Thus, catch and release.

Earlier in the summer I moaned about the number of flies in our home caused by beasts who open the front door and stand in the space peering out, unable to commit. The flies also were welcomed in by a certain boy who raced out the back door towards the trampoline, a boy who could not be slowed by such a mundane tasks closing the door behind him to ensure our home not become the set for Amittyville Horror. Still, most of the flies are gone or at least slow enough even I can get them. The buzzing sound makes me insane when I am finally laying down to sleep. Okay, I do kill flies.

Unfortunately we have been invaded by a new insect, the stink bug. I wish it were a joke, a pun about Plum after he eats cheese or the beasts when they find feces from another species left in the yard and delight in rolling in it, covering their coat in this fresh new scent. Alas these bugs are real. Their primary defense is to emit a wicked awful smell if they are disturbed. Unlike a sneaky spider, these things fly in like a B-52 bomber, so loud, announcing they are ready to battle. They have confidence, they know they stink. I kill these too. I am not afraid to get a bit smelly to rid my home of fighter pilots who hide among the curtains and wait for me to turn out all the lights except the one by my bed. They rush in, a full squadron, land about my pillow and declare dominance. That may work in other settings but I protect my pillow. Catch and release, right into the toilet, a watery end to a worthy opponent.

Okay, I do kill. But not much. I really am non-violent but I am okay with confronting evil and protecting my family, my home. An inability to manage conflict doesn’t end the conflict. Avoiding problems doesn’t make them disappear any more than letting those bugs hang out in my home. They tell their friends they have a safe place, more come in.  They interrupt my sleep, torment my beasts, nibble on my clothes. Some disagreements must be faced in order to move forward.

The Old Testament is replete with battle stories. God led His people in righteous war, many other fights were not in His name. The challenge for me is to remember to ask God first, before I pick up any weapons.  Paul spoke beautifully about confronting evil, the true weapons I would need. He didn’t list guns or baseball bats, frying pans or even a flyswatter.

A Fight to the Finish

10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out    Ephesians 6:10-18The Message (MSG)

Facing the disruptions in our life with these weapons, we recognize we don’t have to go for the kill. Accepting that it is critical that we confront the wrongs and seek resolution, we must first put on God’s armor. It does get heavy though, we are blessed to have many who hold us up. Some battles are as swift as catching the spider, some last many months, years. Much of life happens in the waiting, joy can be missed if we are only focused on the war at hand. Unable to read before I fall asleep, waiting for the next stink bug to attack, adrenaline interferes with my ability to calm and relax. Once the threat is removed though, I have to choose not to ruminate on the damn bugs who pestered me in the first place. I have to choose peace.  Actively lowering my blood pressure after washing my hands, ridding my body of the stench, it is up to me to let it go, at least for another night.

This season of stink bugs will end. Confronting evil is a constant, warring with insects may well be my preparation. An influx of mice hoping for warmth may well be around the corner. God help us. I will need more than armor for that.


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