Cockroaches are not my friends. My hatred of the creatures was solidified the year I was twelve, when my family lived in Guatemala. Scurrying along the tile floors in our house, these unwelcome visitors were at least two inches long, and some of them could fly! My strategy for dealing with cockroaches was to clamber up on the nearest bed, table, or chair, squealing for help, until my mom or dad came to take care of the crisis.
I once read a story from a missionary in Asia who had a daily battle with cockroaches in her apartment. She finally resigned herself to the fact that they would probably always be there, and decided that she better learn to live with it. So she adopted the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy. As long as she didn’t have to look at them, she was OK.
She tells of waking up in the middle of the night and going to the kitchen to get a glass of water. Flipping on the light switch, she immediately closed her eyes and kept them shut for several seconds. Then she waited as they scurried off into their dark hiding places under cabinets and behind walls. By the time she opened her eyes, they would all be gone. Cockroaches hate the light.
There are other pests that linger in the dark corners of my mind and heart sometimes. Fear, anxiety, depression, rejection, bitterness, anger – they’re like those stealthy cockroaches that just refuse to leave. I try to shove them into the closet or under the bed, shut the door, and pretend they’re gone. Yet when I’m alone, when I’m tired, when I’m feeling vulnerable, the anxious thoughts will come creeping back out of the shadows.
But when I shine the light of the TRUTH of God’s Word into those dark places in my heart, the evil residents will be brought into the light! “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. …Everything exposed by the light becomes visible – and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” Ephesians 5:11-13 (NIV)
I can just hear those haunting, condemning thoughts and feelings scurrying away as I meditate on the truth that I am the beloved daughter of the King, and that I have victory through Jesus Christ! And if those evil creatures ever try to come back, I’m ready for them!
Are there any “cockroaches” of unforgiveness, resentment, or other effects of hurt and loss that are lurking in the shadows of your heart? Are you ignoring them and hoping they’ll just go away? Expose the darkness with the light of God’s Word, then ask the Holy Spirit to help you process the issues of your heart to make sure all those lingering pests are gone for good!
“You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light.” II Samuel 22:29 (NIV)