Thank you Encouragement for Today for this message:
I perched on top of my kitchen table and peered into the dimly lit room. My shaking fingers dialed my husband — who was asleep in another state. Why is he always gone when these things happen?
Moments before, right before bedtime, something slammed into the side of my foot. Assuming it was my son’s baseball, I looked down to retrieve the runaway. Instead, I found a tail. A long one. Attached to the body of a giant rat.
Please excuse me while I pause to scream and shake off the shivers …
Somehow, a live rodent had found its way into our house and now my hysteria had snapped my husband awake.
After confirming no one had died, Luke told me to get off of the kitchen table and go to bed. Go to bed? Are you serious?
Ignoring his nonsense, I stayed atop the table and weighed my options.
Almost midnight: Yes.
Rat trap: No.
I knew what I had to do. I climbed down, clenched my teeth, grabbed a shoe and approached the room.
I pushed around toys. Looked under clothes. Scanned the room for any sudden movements …
But I found nothing
It seemed as quickly as the intruder had appeared, he’d vanished. With no other option I carefully moved toward the bedroom.
I poked around on the bed before I slid my toes under the covers. Who knew what might be lurking underneath? As my eyes fell shut I snapped them back open. Did I just see something move?
An event that took just seconds from start to finish eventually claimed hours, even days of my life. I lived distracted.
Your pest likely doesn’t look quite like my furry house guest. But maybe you’ve been distracted by the rat of rage, or the critter of comparison, the intruder of insecurity.
Today’s key verse reminds us we have a spiritual enemy that prowls about and confirms his intentions: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
The Bible names this enemy Satan — the enemy of God determined to cause chaos among God’s people — disturbing, disrupting and distracting us. We all have a pest waiting to wreak havoc in our lives. We just need to decide what to about it. The way I see it, we’ve got three options:
Option 1: Ignore it.
This is the “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” solution. It sort of works, if the pest never appears. Problems arise, however, when he comes out from hiding and into our tidy lives. Enemies often strike when we least expect it, and without a plan we panic.
Option 2: Avoid it.
This choice seems to address the problem at hand, but usually creates new problems along the way. For example, while I tried to convince myself my methods were enough, the reality held me hostage. I peeked around corners before I stepped into rooms, and I jumped at the slightest flash of a shadow. My faulty solution trapped me beneath the weight of my own worry.
Option 3: Prepare for it.
When we choose to prepare for the threat to our souls, we trade distraction for action, and set our souls free. We set up safeguards that unchain us to pursue God and His plans within the boundaries of His protection. Of all our options, this is the only one offering true peace and freedom.
After days spent ignoring and avoiding the problem in my house, I changed my tactics. I prepared for my “enemy.” I called a local pest control company and even adopted a rescue cat. As silly as it sounds, each step of preparation for the next encounter calmed my heart.
I spent less time contemplating where he was and when he might reappear. My fear gave way to freedom, and I no longer lived distracted by the pest. Instead, I grew more invested in the life Jesus spoke of when He said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b, ESV).
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!