They were simply everywhere.
Truly it was an invasion of sorts, a reverse of what happened in the springtime, when a multitude of the stinkbugs suddenly appeared. Unnoticed before, the little brown bugs could now be spotted on walls, tables, and buzzing around lampshades when the lights were turned on. Thankfully not harmful, they were yet creepy, their one protection mechanism being to emit a horrid, lingering smell when disturbed or crushed, prompting warnings to release them outdoors unharmed or dispose of anything that touched them likewise outside. A quick internet search revealed that having enjoyed the warmth of our winter home, these once-invisible house-guests were now just anxious to get back outside and find something to eat. We were only too happy to let them go.
But now on a beautiful October day, they were back, trying to take the house by storm. Thousands of the brown shield-shaped bodies swarmed over windows, screens, glass doors and awnings, an onslaught of an armor-clad insect army seemingly intent on making its way back indoors. Alarmed, I texted pictures of our bug-covered windows to my husband, whose terse four-word response became the battle cry of the day: “DON'T LET THEM INSIDE!” Obligingly I took the dogs in and out to do their business through the garage door, keeping a closed line of defense between us and the bugs at all times.
Because it was October and I had the day off, I started knitting a leaf-shaped coaster to sit under my coffee cup as a celebration of fall. I found some yarn and sat at the kitchen table, keeping my needles moving and a wary eye on the attempted invasion going on outside. It helped to know I was not doing so alone. Facebook posts warned fellow homeowners likewise under attack to pull any window air-conditioners that might give the bugs access and to maintain a tight ship while the invasion was ongoing.
And then, just as quickly as it started, it was over. A day or two later there wasn't a bug to be seen. Where had they gone? Had they made it into my attic? Or had they retreated to attack again in another place on another day? Just glad to see them go, I pushed all thought of them away and went on with my days.
There was plenty of other stuff to think about; my mind of late had been bombarded with anxious thoughts. Health concerns, family issues, friends battling life-threatening illnesses...on and on the enemy lobbed worry grenades on a mind that was for some reason left open to attack. Normally good at pushing worrisome thoughts aside, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of mental bombs exploding around me and had totally lost the pervading peace that guards my soul as a result. Pinned down and cowering in a mental foxhole, I hollered for help in this battle for my mind.
And He came. He showed up in picture form, using the same photos I had sent to my husband days earlier of the insect invasion. Each worry that was plaguing me was in reality just a harmless little bug, an attempt to inject the stink of worldly thinking into a mindset that prefers the fragrance of the presence of God. Lulled by the earlier period of mental peace, I was unprepared for the sudden onslaught of anxiety and had temporarily lost my spiritual focus. And that is the enemy's battle plan in a nutshell. He wants us to be so overwhelmed by what he is doing that we spend all our time consumed with him instead of being about the Father's business.
God doesn't want us sitting around wringing our hands and watching the enemy; the devil is a defeated foe. Instead, we should be filling our minds so full of the Kingdom of God and His plans and purposes for our lives that we simply don't have time to waste on worry. To borrow from Star Trek vernacular, He has equipped us with mental deflector shields to protect us from enemy attack. We just need to use them.
Our prayers activate those shields; the Bible promises peace in response to the requests we make of Him. More than just a pleasant word, peace is an active verb that fights on our behalf, guarding our hearts and minds from the onslaught of the troubles and trials of the world. Who knew that a word that falls so softly on the ear could be such a mighty weapon of war? Prayer and peace do battle together...and we are the grateful recipients of the victory they provide.
I had to laugh when I looked at the little coaster I had just completed. Looking more like a stinkbug than the leaf I intended, perhaps it was God's intention for me to set my coffee cup down on it each day and hear His voice say, “Shields up!” as I prepared to then “boldly go” on my way.
“Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.”
(Romans 12:21 AMP, emphasis mine)