BY PASTOR TONY REA | AUGUST 31, 2020
I Can (series)
Regardless of how effective and beneficial they might be with home insect pest control, I have always loathed spiders. Just the sight of one of those eight-legged, fang-toting creatures send chills up and down my spine. I wouldn’t say I suffer from arachnophobia, but spiders do have a tendency to generate some rather intense and unpleasant emotions.
Next on the list are flies, those detestable little black-winged, home-invaders. Very few things annoy me more than a germ-carrying Musca domestica (housefly) buzzing around in the kitchen or dining room area. As a young boy, from the time I can remember, in-house flies were met with a great deal of wrath; they were always pummeled and disposed of without mercy.
Truth be told, I’m not all that fond of any kind of bug or insect. I avoid bees, wasps, and hornets like the plague, and all it takes is one tiny little persistent mosquito to send me packing. Growing up, I guess I got used to ants and fruit flies being around the house—my mom did a lot of canning. Other than that, I find most creepy crawlers and flying pests extremely disturbing.
With that as a back drop, let me tell you about the time very early on in my police career when I was searching through the home of a suspected killer, looking for the gun he used in a rash of homicides. We had chased the suspect into his residence following a high-speed vehicular chase, as wild and crazy a fiasco as I can remember.
During the time we were pursuing the suspect, we received radio information that he was wanted for questioning in several different homicides. We were also given a description of the weapon used in the shootings. Following the car chase, the bad guy bailed out on foot and happened to make it to the inside of his own house before we had a chance to apprehend him. He ran inside and locked the door behind himself. I guess he thought his house would be off-limits to the police since we didn’t have a search warrant. What he failed to understand is a term called “hot pursuit.” Since he ran into his house while we were hot on his trail, we were allowed by law to continue to pursue him and, for our own safety, secure the premises. That meant we could take a reasonable look around the house for the gun used in the homicides.
Well, after arresting the suspect, there may have been six or seven policemen (including me) in his house looking for the handgun. During the search, I decided to turn over a small couch; and when I did, I hit the jackpot! Not the gun, but an unbelievable infestation of cockroaches! Now here’s the kicker, I had never seen a cockroach before, and those revolting little fleet-of-foot creatures completely freaked me out! Boy, can they run. Case in point: a one-day-old baby cockroach can run almost as fast as its parents. (If you don’t believe me, Google it.)
As soon as I lifted up the couch, I kid you not, scores of cockroaches ran in every possible direction including directly at me. Some made their way onto my boots and pant legs before I even had time to react. Immediately I let out a fear-filled shriek that broke the silence in the room. I dropped the couch and darted backwards—like I was shot out of a cannon. I guess all the color drained from my face, and I looked like I had just seen a ghost. Did I mention, I never saw a cockroach before?
As soon as the other police officers realized what had happened, I came under a heartless barrage of embarrassing and humiliating remarks. I was laughed at and rookie-shamed unmercifully for the next 10 minutes or so. I guess they had become so used to seeing cockroaches, they were desensitized to their disgusting appearance. These seasoned officers must have forgotten their initial and normal reaction to such grotesque encounters and didn’t mind sharing space with them. To this day, I hate even the sight of a cockroach!
Let me ask, are you familiar with the boiling frog fable? The idea is, if you drop a frog in a pot of hot water, it will of course frantically try to jump out. But if you place the frog in a pot of tepid or lukewarm water and turn the heat on low, it will float quite comfortably. As the water gradually heats up and then boils, the frog will fail to perceive the danger and will eventually be cooked alive. The boiling frog story is a metaphor cautioning people to be aware of gradual or so-called innocent change, lest they suffer eventual compromise and undesirable consequences.
I’ll leave you with one passage today and trust the Holy Spirit will do the rest.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.