Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fear of Creepy Crawlies

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.  I Peter 5:7

Cockroaches in our house in Somalia were a common occurrence. They were so gross. The big ones would even fly. Then there were the stink ants which made a terrible smell if they were stepped on. I dreaded the monthly days of prayer the missionaries had because so much time was spent kneeling. My mind was more on keeping a vigilant eye on any stink ants crawling around than in talking to God. The possibility of scorpions would send me into a panic. After being bit by a rat on my chin while sleeping I became afraid of them, too.

Then in Pakistan I dreaded catching fleas which could jump from one person to another. Strange, I really did not wrestle much with hungry fleas. Maybe God knew that He needed to keep them away from me…or else…..Same with the big spiders and rats; especially in one particular home.

As we were visiting a Muslim family, who moved into a run down area of our city here, they mentioned that the exterminator had come one week ago to spray for bedbugs and would be returning in one week to spray again. Oh horrors!  I glanced around quickly for any sign of them and began to psychologically itch all over. But it got worse. Memories of snakes inside their home in their former homeland began to be talked about. The graphic descriptions of how big they were and that some would even fly across the room made me imagine movements and images of invisible slithering creepy crawlies on the walls.

Once while visiting Fatima a mouse darted around my feet. I survived. There have been homes where I have sat on dirty floors with garbage still waiting to be swept up when my eyes suddenly have fallen on small cockroaches climbing the walls. There have been worse things on the floor than garbage. Evictions have sometimes followed. I wonder how safe the sofas are from bedbugs.  Would you believe it that I have never actually seen a bedbug after nearly 37 years in ministry?

Most of the homes I visit in are clean, even cleaner than my home and the presence of undesirable bugs normally absent.  But, occasionally there is a risk in home visitation in this ministry.  One lady emailed me that she wanted to invite a certain person into her home but she was afraid that person might bring in bedbugs which might bury into her furniture. She asked for prayer to have courage to rise above her fears and hesitation to extend hospitality.  Perhaps you can identify with such anxieties.  Fears could keep me back from ministry but repeatedly He has calmed my dread, fears, and stress.  I am determined not to stay away from visiting homes or inviting people to my home because of anxious exaggerated imaginings about all those creepy crawlies. Most of my fears turn out to be ungrounded and not as serious as I make them out to be. And if they do appear God has helped me to survive.

Dear heavenly Father, I am amazed how You keep helping me to walk through various fears and to rise victoriously above them.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.