Last week, in my video Scripture Sunday post, I talked about an experience I had of the love and compassion of Jesus. It was wonderful blessing and I am grateful for it. But the week that followed hasn’t been easy!
As a matter of fact, almost immediately after my experience I was hit with the worst allergy attack I’ve had since childhood. This wasn’t a sniffling and sneezing kind of allergy attack, either. It was a full-out systemic response. My throat hurt. My eyes itched. I began to wheeze. I had trouble sleeping.
The next day I started finding issues in and around my house as well. Flies began to congregate, repeatedly, on the inside of the glass door of our basement. An unusually large snake was spotted in the yard on two separate occasions. I realized that my allergies were worse inside than out.
I looked up dust mites online and found the following information on the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology website.
Dust mites are the most common cause of allergy from house dust. Dust mites live and multiply easily in warm, humid places and are a common cause of asthma in children. A house does not need to be visibly dirty to trigger a dust mite allergy reaction.
It was good to pinpoint the problem because that told me what I needed to do but I didn’t feel well and I knew that if I started doing those things I was going to feel worse. Even the website said that “the allergic” should get someone else to clean. But there wasn’t anyone else. As least not anyone who would take my allergies seriously enough to do things as carefully as they needed to be done.
I was overwhelmed and a little creeped out but something else was bothering me. It seemed odd that my allergies kicked up so violently – and so abruptly.
I began to think about the timing. I noticed that these things had started happening right after my experience of Jesus on Friday July 13th. I wondered if I might be experiencing some sort of spiritual attack. I began to double up on prayer and to receive specific guidance in Scripture.
On the morning of Friday July 20th I journaled on this passage from my One Year Bible reading:
Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. – Romans 6:12-14
As I journaled, I thought about how I had been dealing with the problems in and outside my house. It was true that I didn’t feel good and I’d had a lot going on at the beginning of the week but I had no good excuse for having spent the last couple of days nursing my allergies. And I knew that laying around and drinking tea was a far cry from Paul’s advice about using my whole body to do what is right.
So that day, in between sneezes, I started to do some of the things the allergy website suggested. I worked inside for almost three hours and then I went outside and weed whacked. It was a long difficult wheezy day but I got through it surprisingly gracefully.
The next day I woke up and did my One Year Bible Reading. And this time, two verses jumped out at me.
The first was from a public address King Solomon made on the day that his brand new Temple was finally finished. The space had been created and adorned, the priests had been purified. Music was playing and all the people were present. The sanctification process was largely material in nature but it was very effective. Just before Solomon began to speak, the presence of the Lord filled the temple.
…I have built this Temple to honor the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. – Chronicles 6:10
Now I don’t consider my home a Temple or anything close but I do feel that some of the things I want to accomplish here do, in my own small way, honor God. I want to create a refuge for my family and do whatever I can to lead them to Christ. I want to practice Christian Life Coaching from my home office. I even have dreams of eventually hosting a small group Bible study in my eventually renovated kitchen. So, to me, it makes sense to sanctify this space – in the same spirit Solomon sanctified the Temple.
But it was the second verse that really hit home.
…Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit. – Romans 7:6
I especially liked the distinction Paul made, in this verse, between the old way of doing things and the new. In the old way, the Jews had followed the law to letter because that was what was expected of them. Which was a lot like the way I used to take care of my house. There was no real joy in it but there was a lot of resentment. Now, even though I wheezing my way through it, I was in pretty good spirits.
Something was different. Maybe it was different because I felt like I was a spiritual battle. Maybe it was different because I believed in the future I’d have here. Or maybe it was different because I was a new person in Christ.
Does this mean I will suddenly turn into a clean freak or always be happy to sniffle my way through heavy cleaning?
Probably not. But I worked hard on the house and yard two days running. I have more work to do but I did make significant progress. As a result I am sneezing less and not nearly as puffy.
Whether this was actually spiritual warfare or whether it was just me overcoming myself, I believe that I stood up to something – and won.
And, in doing so, I have begun to think about the nature of the Holy Spirit who I believe to be with me.