You don't exactly plan to be living in luxury on a mission trip, but you do hope to at least get a good night's sleep. Our hopes were dashed a little in the middle of our mission trip to Vietnam. There's no nice way to put it; the hotel we checked into was nasty. Our complimentary toothbrush packet was already open. A glass sat next to the sink with water still in it from the last customer, and there was no soap to wash the filth of the room off our hands. We could deal with that, but we were more concerned about spiders in our bed. So before we turned in for the night, we pulled the sheet back and checked to be sure we wouldn't be bitten as we slept.
It was definitely dirty, but bug free...or so we thought.
Around five o'clock in the morning, my husband felt something crawling on his face and slapped it away. I assured him it was probably just a tiny spider. But his high functioning OCD and germophobia didn't find that assumption acceptable; he had to find out what had been hanging out on him. Our worst fears were realized when he turned on his iPhone flashlight to reveal a bed bug crawling where he had been laying along with evidence that one had bitten me and been squashed in the night. Eeeew!! I shot up, and we began disrobing and telling our kids to do the same. The decision was made to leave every article of clothing that had touched that bed behind so as not to take those bugs home! These are the moments that my husband's germaphobic ways come in real handy since nothing else had touched the bed and our suitcases had already been locked up tight. Right about now, you're probably thinking "Wow, what a gross story. How on earth does that apply to my life, other than standing a little farther away when I talk to you?" Follow along with me.
Bedbugs are resilient and relentless and nearly impossible to get rid of. If we hadn't taken measures to be sure that they didn't come with us, we could've unwittingly migrated those Vietnamese bedbugs into their new home in California, in our beds! They would've been prolific at multiplying, and we would've had to burn our mattress. Okay, maybe burning is a little extreme, but we'd definitely need to invest in a new bed. I'm sure glad we spotted them!
Those bedbugs remind me of the little bits of sin that I pick up along my walk with Jesus.
Sometimes, without even noticing, something latches onto me and won't let go. It multiplies and permeates every area of my life, and before I know it, I'm infested with poor judgement, leading to poor choices, leading to straight-up more and more sin. Getting rid of sin is thankfully easier than getting rid of bedbugs, but they both need to die. The Bible says that as soon as I decide to let Jesus be the director of my life, I am no longer chained to my old way of living, my old mistakes. I am NEW, and none of that old stuff is meant to stay.
Sin is sneaky. Sometimes, without even noticing, we pick up something nasty, and it just takes over. For me, it usually takes over by changing the way I am with the people around me, usually my family. I get snappy and rude, and I just want to be alone and watch Netflix, and by watching Netflix, I mean watching an entire season on Netflix. Netflix doesn't ask questions; Netflix understands. I'm pretty sure if you looked up "Netflix" in the dictionary it may have an alternate definition of "a complete waste of time." They only give you 10 seconds between episodes to see if you'd actually like to do something useful with your time. I mean, can we even make an educated decision in 10 minutes? Well played, Netflix, well played. Isolation feels good when I'm riddled with sin because I don't have to tell anyone how I'm REALLY doing.
Maybe it manifests in you differently.
One sin always leads to another if we don't get rid of it before it takes over.
I'm not sure what God's reason was for making bedbugs. I like to believe that He didn't, and that some mad scientist made them as a prank. Same with cockroaches...but that's a whole other story, actually one that applies to the same mission trip. However, I am amazed that God can use this disgusting little creature to remind me to keep my life clean, to get rid of anything that isn't meant to be there. To not let sin hangout and not get so comfortable with it that I am lulled right to sleep, clueless of the infestation project that is in full swing around me. So, let's all keep checking up on our lives, making sure nothing has crept in that doesn't belong in our new hearts and lives!