I started off my new year with a nasty cold and was laying low in hopes of getting myself well again. I planned to turn in early last night and was reading in my bed, when I started hearing unidentifiable, mysterious noises. At one point, I got up and turned on my outside lights, to see if there were any critters outside. I dismissed the sounds and continued reading. Around 10:30, I couldn't ignore the full-fledged racket that I heard this time! It clearly sounded like someone was knocking on my front door! I think my heart stopped momentarily, then pounded out of my chest as I faced the unknown! Thoughts raced : Who would be so inconsiderate to show up on my front porch, late at night, without calling first? Wouldn't anyone who knew me, know that such circumstances would frighten me? Who would come to a darkened house with no outside lights on? Was my house on fire and someone was trying to alert me? My mind whirled as my pulse rate increased!
I only had my bedroom reading light on above my bed, and my blinds were closed, but, I still felt vulnerable and exposed. Was there any way an intruder might be able to see me? I moved into my darkened living room. I considered calling my next door neighbor, and pondered whether I should call the police. I really didn't want to bother my neighbor, although, I know he would have been happy to put my mind at ease. And as far as calling the local deputy; I thought if someone had ill-intent, they surely wouldn't be announcing their arrival and secondly, there was no law against knocking on someone's door. I was paralyzed and afraid...very afraid!
My mind revisited other terrorizing circumstances from my memory bank that happened in another place I once lived. I thought about the incident when my cat acted so strangely and sat at attention, staring at my back door, when I lived in a little remote cabin, many years ago. That time, my outside light was on and as I parted the curtain on my door, I fully expected to see a raccoon or other native critter on my tiny back porch, but instead, I saw a pair of legs, wearing large, black, men's boots! Needless to say; I called the police, without hesitation! When the deputy arrived, he found evidence of the intruder's footprints on the snow-covered ground, all around my home. He also pointed out that I had probably discovered this prowler, while he was loosening my floodlight. That was not the first or the last time the Lord protected me while I lived there!
As I stood in my dark living room, I heard the noise again, only this time farther away. I assumed that my insistent, unwelcome guest had moved to the side entrance on the other end of my home. I was firm in my resolve to not answer, or go anywhere near my doors. I was fully aware that Buck was not here to protect me, but, then, I remembered that Jesus was here with me, as He had promised He would never leave or forsake me. I started to pray, talking to the Lord and myself. I thanked Him for being there with me and protecting me. I thanked and praised Him for the safe, secure home He and Buck had provided for me. I could feel my heart rate slow down, as He restored the Peace that I so desperately needed at that moment! I prayed for the person who had terrorized me, asking the Lord to help if there was some emergency. I stood still and listened for about 15 minutes. Then I decided to return to my bedroom, turn out the light above my bed, and call it a night. I also groped along my bedside to locate my can of Black Flag Wasp and Hornet Spray and stood it on my night stand.
Thankfully, whoever was responsible for the noise, must have given up and left. Although I was feeling better, I was certainly on full alert as I laid in bed, reviewing the details of the night's events. I finally dozed off, but was highly wakeful through the night. During those restless times, I would just listen and I started hearing the same sounds I heard initially, prior to the knocking. It was then, that I considered the possibility that perhaps it really was a wild animal and I searched my front porch, peeking through the blinds... no sign of motion. I had to know where the sound was coming from! I went into private detector mode and I listened again. In the middle of the night, I heard something vaguely familiar, and a light bulb went on in my mind. It was a faint buzz and the sound of wings... tiny wings...STINK BUG WINGS! After all that stress and anxiety, I realized I had most likely been terrorized by stink bugs in my heat ducts! I had almost called the police because of them! I had prayed for...STINK BUGS! I felt relieved and ridiculous at the same time! I wonder how many 911 calls will be made this winter because of them?
The bottom line for me in this story is my gratitude for the effectual power of prayer and the Peace that came with trusting God with the outcome! Although there was no peril involved, the perceived threat was ultra-real and had the same effect as any authentic danger. I am so thankful that my faith can make such a difference in my life, even if it's about protecting me from STINK BUGS! Even if there had been a real person at my door, it would not have interfered with the security and safety I enjoy because of my relationship with the Lord. Just like when I lived in that little cabin in the woods, I refuse to let the memory of situations such as I experienced long ago, cause me to live in fear. Thank You, Lord, for always being there for me, and calming my fears when I need You the most!
Psalm 18:1-3 (The Message)
I love you, God— you make me strong.
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.
I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty,
and find myself safe and saved.