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Summer 2018 will go down as the Grand Pest Control Crusade. At the present moment, the jury is still out as to who is exterminating whom. I may be optimistic, but I think there’s a slight gradient of advantage on the side of the angels (me). All of July was swallowed up in the plague of a misdiagnosed skin inflammation – three weeks spent in a fruitless, escalading battle with a (theoretic) fungal infection. Trying to combat the painful, itching fire with the wrong remedies drives one to the edge of despair…especially in the wee hours of the night. When that was finally correctly identified, the turnover relief was amazing, if a little perplexing. Why should I be afflicted with Pityriasis rosea; a viral infection seen mostly in children and teen-agers (cause, unknown)? Blessedly, that one finally feels under control, if not entirely subdued. My empathy for Job has taken a huge upswing.

On the larger scale, I’ve been battling, of all wretched vermin, gophers! The empty lot to the north of our condo building has become an epidemic infestation of the critters, who feel they have the right to the run of…everywhere. I’ve been doing my best to block up all holes dug on this side of the building with bricks and dirt, zealously preserving this pristine territory. Things were going well until the other day, when I came out on to the patio to find one such quadruped cleaning himself on our table. He stared at me (I swear it) insolently for a full 5 second count before scarpering off. OOoowhhh…! That was just the outside of too much. This has now escalated into a full scale, no holds barred, no quarter asked and none given, battle for supremacy. Am I sympathetic to the plight of small furry creatures, innocently searching for a home to call their own? Yeesss…in theory. But their home stomping grounds better not overlap with mine. I’m not sharing the promenade deck. Bucko, you’d better stick to the wide-open fields, and out of my line of sight if you know what’s good for you.

The Merriam Webster definition of ‘pest’ is: 1. An epidemic disease associated with high mortality; specifically, a plague. 2. A plant or animal detrimental to humans or human concerns (such as agriculture or livestock production). 3: One that pesters or annoys: nuisance. Check, check, check. Ironically, even as a write this, there’s a huge bluebottle fly bobbling and buzzing around, cruising the room as if to reinforce my point. Where is that fly swatter? Good grief!! If it isn’t one blessed thing, it’s another.

Life, unfortunately, is absolutely chock a block with plague, blight, irritation, menace, trouble, worry and bother; all the kith and kin of ‘pest’. In hindsight, we have to admit that first step out of Eden was a doozy. There’s no shortage of legitimate complaint for those whose preferred perch is the shadow of bitterness, resentment and negativity. Like smoke, these pessimistic sycophants are all too ready to enclose around us, choking out the joy. They love to spread like a contagion to all and sundry. So then, it’s really a matter of what is headlining our consciousness. What mindset are we carrying? Sometimes, the worst scourge we suffer is the one we're carrying within our own spirits. But we’re no longer under the curse, remember? We’ve got the mind of Christ.

When frustration threatens to overtake me, there’s only one thing to do. It is absolutely necessary to drive this badgering bane off my mental landscape. I’m resetting my sights on the blessing. It’s time to get militant. Strap your spiritual armor on and batten down the hatches. Stop leaning on the doorbell, Devil, because I’m accepting no visitations but the Divine. As a heavenly citizen of faith, I have inalienable rights. I’m scouring the fine print of Scripture for legal precedent against the pandemic of helpless discouragement. Nothing like that sharp sword of weaponry! This is where I pull out my well-thumbed copy of Psalm 91.

(S)He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings shalt you trust: his truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day; Nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come nigh you. Only with your eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Psalm 91:1-8 NKJV

Nowhere is God’s protection to the true believer laid out more graphically than in this psalm. This is intensely intimate; there is hope. Suddenly, you can lift up your eyes again. Just lean into the Holy Spirit brooding over you; exquisite tenderness in the merest touch of pinions. He’s the Balm of Gilead and the remedy against any inflammation, raw painfulness, acute bruising or any other of life’s trauma. In the cadence of these words, we regain the beat of God's heart, breathing confidence, expectation and anticipation into us again. The stupendously looming sovereignty of His presence is a greater reality than any impending doom, but you have to accept that. It’s your choice to stay on hallowed ground or not. He is very, very close. He's our victory over life's vicissitudes; everything else is just a glitch in the radar. Come, overshadow me, Lord.

Because you hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, your habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. Psalm 91:9 NKJV

sovereignty, everything else is a glitch in the radar.

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