February 7, 2007

If David Had Cockroaches

2007 1504 page31 capavid had armies chasing after him. Daniel had lions aching to eat him. I have never had my faith tested before in those kinds of ways. No one has ever tried to kill me. So how can I feel kinship to David’s songs to God, begging for protection from his enemies?
“Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings, . . . from my deadly enemies who surround me” (Ps. 17:8, 9).*
How can a North American girl understand the perils of a king? In my own limited way, I think I do. If David had cockroaches, I don’t think he would have changed his psalms a bit!
Have you ever seen a cockroach? Many of us can go a whole lifetime without having made the introduction. What do they look like? They’re bugs—about the size of your little fingernail if you’re lucky, and the size of your entire thumb if you’re not! They’re normally brown and beetlish, with long antennae that flow out behind them. They dash across the kitchen floor at a breakneck speed, and skitter under the stove and fridge. They squeeze into the tiniest cracks, such as around the light switch or electrical outlets. They’re hearty! These little beasties can have a lifespan of three years. They can live for two to three months without food, and go a month without water. And you think you can starve them for four months to kill them off? Just try! They can eat paper, cardboard, bookbindings. . . . A crumb from your toaster can hold them over for weeks.
2007 1504 page31I was a spoiled girl who had never come in contact with a cockroach. My husband was not as naïve as I was, and insisted on killing them when he saw them. We bought poison. We used bathroom caulking to seal up every crack in the small apartment we lived in. We bought the sticky traps to catch them before they got under the stove. We cleaned and disinfected every possible surface daily. We nagged each other about toast crumbs and eating in bed. Finally, we gave up. We moved.
That should solve it, right? They win, we move. We cleaned everything thoroughly with bleach and hot water, packed our bags, and left. We felt quite smart. In our next home we breathed a sigh of relief, and recklessly left a dish in the sink overnight. We felt like naughty children and giggled to ourselves about it. We could leave a dish in the sink here! We were free!
Nope. Only a few days later, we saw another one . . . and then another. What could we do? We’d either brought them with us, or moved in with a whole new family of them.
I sat down and had a good cry; it seemed like the best option. And then I prayed. Now, I had been praying all along. God did seem to hold the roaches back for us. For some reason, though, God didn’t see fit to remove them completely. I prayed long. I prayed hard. I begged and pleaded. It was one of the most desperate prayers of my life.
“You brought on the bugs in Egypt,” I prayed. “And then you removed them. So please, remove them from our home!”
It’s hard to explain to someone when you feel a prayer has been answered. I just felt it, somehow. And from that day forward, we never saw another bug. Not one. I even tested things by leaving a horrible mess in the kitchen overnight. Nothing! Nada!
God is good! I felt like David, celebrating a victory over an army bent on killing him. I felt so loved by my God! I felt like I could sing along with David, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over” (Ps. 23:5).
“Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered” (Ps. 68:1).  . . . And not under the fridge and stove either! “As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, let the wicked perish at the presence of God” (Ps. 68:2).
I couldn’t say a heartier amen!
*All Scriptures in this article are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Patty Froese lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her husband, Jean. She loves to write during every spare minute.