Published: September 24, 2022
Updated: October 14, 2022
The last couple of weeks something has been bugging me. I have had many, too many, mysterious places, you could say spots on my skin that suddenly start itching. Nothing is visible until--I happen to rub the spot unconsciously and then I have a spot that swells and constantly itches and starts bugging me. I have never seen anything that would cause the itch. In fact, the spots became so numerous that all sorts of reasons began to run through my mind as to what could be the cause and some of the possibilities were not nice ones. Nothing seemed to make sense. Then one day I saw a comment on Facebook that made me say--now why didn't I think of that? It all made sense then--that something I could not see--No See Ums--was the reason I was having so many places that itched. In fact, I really had not been able to see them!
I often try to protect myself from getting bitten, for I react pretty severely to some stings and bug bites. My skin gets red, swollen, itchy, hot, and I sometimes feel feverish and fatigued. Living in an old house has me on the lookout for bugs that somehow enter our home when they should stay outside where they belong. Spiders and crickets and flies in my house get a well-aimed flyswatter treatment or a swift flush down the drain. Before you laugh too hard, you have to understand that for some reason, God created me to be bait (food?) for any and all insects—spiders, mosquitos, wasps, ants, black flies, and--the dreaded no-see-ums. You name it, they bite or sting and seek me out. I’m just minding my own business, not even thinking about bothering them, yet they still persist. When we’re outside, I’m waving my arms around shooing them away or running away myself. It seems that the more I try NOT to think about scratching the itchy bug bites covering my ankles and many, many other places, the itchier they become! You maybe can relate to this story.
I got to thinking about how much these irritating bites are like sin. No matter what I’m doing—eating breakfast, working online, driving, talking with my husband, doing laundry or the dishes, trying to sleep, the itch is ever-present; never far from my thoughts and attention. The temptation to scratch is manageable when my mind is engaged in activity, but I find my hand drifting to my ankles, waist, arm crook, etc., especially when my mind has shifted into neutral—when my defenses are down. And once I give in to that first little scratch, I’ve got to repeat it, for now the itch has intensified. And now, far from being satisfying, it’s beginning to hurt a little. And bleed. And I must scratch harder and harder to satisfy that intense itching! Ugh!!!
Someone has determined that there are 3 kinds of suffering. Suffering caused by 1. Divine Providence such as birth, old age, death, earthquakes, storms, natural catastrophes 2. Other living beings such as disease germs, biting insects, dogs, abusive people. 3. Reactions to your own impulsive activities. Did you notice that the bugs that bug me are a legitimate cause of my suffering?
I enjoy fall in almost every way but there are a few things that come with fall that bug me about it. For example--fall apples are great until you bite an apple and find half a wiggling worm. Leaves turning orange and yellow and red and falling to the ground are wonderful until you spend time raking them into a pile and the wind picks up. You may agree or probably even have other things that bug you. Or maybe you don't want to talk about them and have others know about your "bugs." I wish that I could go to the store and purchase bug spray for my problems the same way I can buy bug spray for mosquitoes and no see ums and ticks. A spray to make my problems just go away would be wonderful. But-----they would just keep coming back just as most bugs do. The only way to battle your bugs of life is God's Word. It is stronger and more effective than Raid or Off or citronella, etc. If we trust in God, then the bugs of life aren't so bad.
Isaiah 41:13,14 says "For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."
It’s the same way with our fight against sin. I battle daily with sin. Satan is like the "No See um" bug. He is pretty invisible but he leaves a mark behind that causes suffering, distress, and constantly reminds that he has been present in your life and you did not escape his "sting/bug bite." The temptation to give in to sin is always there — calling me, tempting me. And it, Satan, grabs me when I let my mind shift into neutral. And once I give in to sin (Satan) just a little, it demands more. But it never satisfies. Sin costs. And the end of sin is death. James says, "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." Yes, Satan will bring us death.
I’m learning that a key to battling sin is my mind…what am I going to feed it today? When I choose to soak my mind in the truths of God’s Word, I don’t notice the temptations to sin as much, for my mind and soul is filled with God and His great love and grace toward me. "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:13) I want to be so captured and enthralled by His grace toward me, an undeserving sinner, that I don’t even notice the itch anymore. You will never win the battle against sin until the beauty of God rises larger in your mind than your temptation.
When you start getting bugged--get out the bug spray (Word of God) and pray away the bugs of life. It will work better than Raid and will work every time.