Lesson from a Roach

A couple of weeks ago, after I had been waging an intense war on the roaches in the bathroom for a few weeks, one of them taught me a lesson.

My war comes in the form of karbol, which I finally realised smells like hospital grade disinfectant.  There’s no time when I take a shower when I don’t liberally throw it around the bathroom when I’m done.  Not one time.  As soon as I see it getting a little low, I buy another because I’m not taking the risk of running out.  (As a side note, I’ve come to learn through trial and error that it’s not any old brand of karbol that repels these little buggers; it’s 1 particular brand that keeps my life roach-free.)

Normally, I approach the bathroom cautiously.  There’s no striding up to the door and stepping in with confidence.  Nope.  I approach slowly, flick the light switch on and poke my head in to get the lay of the land.  This allows me to see if there are any roaches lurking around and it gives the lizards a chance to scurry away up high.

For weeks, I approached the bathroom in this way until I realised that it had been three days since I had seen a roach.  Yes, people, I had gone from Monday to Wednesday without even a sighting.

By Thursday morning, I had relaxed about the roaches and stepped confidently into the bathroom.  There was not a roach in sight.  I closed the door and went ahead getting my bathroom business done…and there came a roach scurrying towards me.  To my credit, I didn’t scream.  I calmly grabbed the karbol and doused him then washed him down the drain, all the while cursing him to eternal damnation under my breath.

Even as I washed him away, I thought to myself, “Would you look at that?  Just when I thought this was over, this little sucker comes along to remind me to stay vigilant.”  It occurred to me that even though I’m not seeing roaches on a daily basis anymore (hallelujah!), they are lurking around unseen somewhere and that even if their numbers are reduced because of the karbol, they are still around.

This struck me as a life lesson because there are some undesirable things within myself that I’m trying to overcome and there are times when I feel pleased with myself because I think I have 1 of them licked.  Then I find myself falling off the wagon because I relaxed my guard and didn’t stay vigilant.  Or somehow God shows me that I need not be smug because there’s lots more to work on.  This reminds me that I need to stop arrogantly assuming that I have any weakness conquered once and for all, because my sin nature is always lurking around, waiting to show its ugly head, just like the roach.

On the other hand, like Paul said, I’m thankful for these thorns in my flesh because they remind me that I can’t even depend on myself.  I can stay vigilant, but only by the grace of God will I eventually be victorious.

Thank you, Mr. Roach, for reminding me to stay alert and be humble.

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