I have been been in a war the past few weeks, and at times, I must admit, I have felt DEFEATED!
With whom am I battling, you ask?
Who is this enemy?
It is the dreaded Japanese Beetle!
When we returned from our wonderful Chicago vacation, I went out to inspect my beloved flowers. I was pleased with how they looked from afar. The colors were breathtaking. The scents lovely. The plants were exploding with blooms. I cherish and enjoy God’s amazing creation and beauty~ roses, lilies, petunias, impatiens…. But, with closer inspection, I could see they were being attacked by a dreaded enemy- the Japanese Beetle! Oh, I was already familiar with this wicked insect. They had destroyed my petunias last summer and had killed a plum bush. I knew the destruction and the havoc they reek.
These beetles ravage the plant, chewing out tissue between the veins, giving the leaf a “characteristic skeletonized appearance.” One morning when I looked out my kitchen window, I saw at least 25 beetles on ONE rose bud, devouring the beautiful petals until they were devastated…broken…unrecognizable…beauty destroyed…
It made me think of the battle each one of us faces as a child of God. We, too, have an enemy who wants to devastate us, break us, until our beauty in the Savior is unrecognizable, and our faith is destroyed.
He wants to eat away at us- our passions, our dreams, our confidence, our worth- until we resemble those gnawed away leaves with only a skeleton remaining. The green, healthy, foliage, or fruit is missing. We remain just a shadow of who God created us to be.
Battling the Japanese Beetles becomes weary at times. Just when I think I have them “licked,” I look out my window to see a new squadron has flown in and is eating away at the precious blooms and leaves.
And so it goes with the enemy of my soul. He wears me down. I become weary at times. And, sometimes, just when I think I have a temptation or deception “licked,” he comes in again with a whole host of help. And, like the beetles who come in large numbers, it is often NOT just one I battle, but Satan throws all he has at me. The dishwasher breaks the same week Brian is traveling AND the kids (all five of them) come down with the flu. I then realize I have forgotten to pay some pressing bill….on and on~ you get the idea.
“I will restore (repay) you for the years the locusts have eaten…” -Joel 2:25
Isn’t it amazing that our loving Father, our Savior, our Lord will take the devastation that the enemy causes and restore what has been lost? He prunes away the damaged leaves, the eaten blooms, and brings new buds, even more beautiful than the previous ones. The Lord restores whatever the enemy has tried to devour- hope, dreams, relationships, finances, our faith….
In my battle against the beetles, I have come to rely on some very important tools and habits. I need to check and recheck the flowers all throughout the day. First thing in the morning I need to make sure all the plants are healthy and beetle free.
In my spiritual battles, I need to also use important tools and habits.
The greatest tool against the enemy is the Word of God. I need to KNOW the Word and USE it by quoting it OUT LOUD when the battle comes. I MUST spend time in the Word.
So, in our battles against bugs or the enemy of our soul, we must remember we have a God who is BIG, who loves us, who is ALL powerful, who desires to rush in to defend us, to save us and to restore what the enemy has stolen. He loves when, broken, we cry out to Him to be our defender, our Shield, our Fortress. Jesus is the Armor of God.
I first wrote this devotion last year, but decided to repost it because I am BATTLING these horrible insects again this year. I remembered the devotion as I was outside plucking off beetles and spraying my flowers. It was a reminder that the “battle” is constant and I have to be ever-diligent. I can’t “let my guard down.” I must remain alert as both Paul and Peter remind us. One new fact that I learned about the beetle from last year is that they burrow in the lawn all through the winter and hatch as grubs. So, not only do I need to be watchful in the summer for beetles, I must treat my lawn in the fall for grubs to totally be victorious over these horrible pests. This applies spiritually as well. Even if I can’t see what the enemy is doing, he is in “my lawn”, growing while I may not even be aware. Even when he is not reaping destruction by eating my flowers- my fruit- I must be alert and aware and get rid of him when he is a “grub.”
Father, I come before Your throne, boldly, praising You, thanking You for Your power and grace and love. I thank You that You are an ever present help in trouble. I thank You that You have equipped me with everything I need for battle. I thank You for Your armor. I thank You for Your protection. Lord, remind me of Your Word, Your Truth when the enemy comes against me with his lies. Help me to replace every lie with Your Truth. I love You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
I would love for you to visit me at my personal blog:
- Running the Race
- What Running Has Taught Me