I often make reference to what I call “The Holy Spirit Help Desk,” to which I turn for assistance with all manner of technical difficulties. Inexplicable computer glitch? Praying over my laptop often fixes the problem. This week I have discovered a new function for prayer—insect repellent!
Espérance and I have moved into a guest room at the center for another mission whose personnel only come and go from Brazza on their way up to a hospital in the north of the country. A couple I work with rent the main house, while we occupy a bedroom and kitchen/dining room with an outside bathroom. The compound is situated near a central bus stop and is not far from where I work, where I shop, or practically anywhere else I might like to go, so it’s a handy temporary solution while we continue our house hunt.
There have been a few aspects of this housing solution, however, that have irritated and troubled me. It’s rather tight quarters and I don’t have the room and storage space that I need to really feel moved in (although I expect I’ll adapt and find solutions…it’s just a bit tough in the transition phase). It’s hot even in the cool evenings because we keep the shutters closed since there are no screens on the windows and the mosquitoes are plentiful. Although, in spite of this precaution, the house has still been full of the little buggers swarming around my sensitive skin! Sweating and scratching all the time, does not a low stress situation make. Lastly, the place is CRAWLING with cockroaches. Cockroaches in the cupboards, cockroaches in the corners, cockroaches while I cook. Cockroaches flying at my head. Cockroaches running over my feet. Need I say more? (Do you feel a Dr Seuss coming on?)
Two nights ago it really got ridiculous. Espérance and I were eating dinner and it seemed the roaches had made themselves completely at home. I found them to be quite insolent, daring to run around our feet and come out into the middle of the room as though they owned the place. I stomped a few of them and Espé told me I should “laisser vivre la nature.” I’m like, “Yeah, I’ll let nature live…when it’s actually out in nature! This is my house!”
I’m not exactly sure what else was said in the course of this conversation, but somehow I was struck with the inspiration that God is sovereign over all creation and all creatures must submit to His authority, and consequently must also respect us as children of God. I told Espérance that we needed to have a contest: I would chase out the cockroaches in Jesus’ Name and he would take care of the mosquitoes and we’d see which one actually left the house :o) He refused to participate in the challenge (odd, since he has been known to talk plants into bearing fruit in Jesus’ Name!) but I forged ahead anyhow.
I was reminded of Saint Francis’ practice of referring to animals as “brother dog” and “sister cow”, etc. so I spoke kindly but forcefully to all my brother roaches in the house and let them know in Jesus’ Name that they would need to leave the house the next day. Some of them seemed to be standing around listening to me! I repeated the same idea a few times to make sure they’d all heard. Espérance sat amused at the dining table and informed me that if they were my brothers then we should all live together. I stood my ground and insisted they had no right to occupy our house and eat our food when there were plenty of places outside they could go without bothering anyone.
The next morning as I was eating my homemade peanut butter granola, a stranded rebel roach was scampering frantically about and I sternly warned him that this was eviction day. That was 3 days ago and I haven’t seen a cockroach since! Hallelujah! Was even 48 hours before I saw any mosquitoes again! What a relief to have my abode to myself. Now I’m working on the Lord sending a cool breeze through the place so I’m not so hot anymore :o)
Ha! As I’m writing this, a Cece Winans song I’ve never listened to before is playing on my computer: “I am the One, yes, I created the whole universe. Greater than anything in heaven and in all the earth. It’s My air you breathe so I’m the One that you should please. I am the One you need, why should you be alone? I am that I AM, I’m all that you need. I can, yes I can, no it ain’t too hard for Me. Do you know, do you really feel it? Every day, every night of your life, I AM. It hurts my heart indeed to see those whom I love in need. Knowing all I wonder why they never call on Me. If you just ask then I can satisfy you with good things. I’ll give you everything, yes, you can have it all. I tell the sun to rise, the wind to blow, the rain to fall. I move the mountains and the oceans, rivers, great and small. Yes, everything I made I want to hear them give Me praise, and especially you, My children, each and every day.”
Here are the verses I had in mind that gave me the biblical basis for my actions:
Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18)
“God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)
“In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered.’ ‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart bu believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:20-24)