Monday was Memorial Day and the unofficial beginning of summer. And fittingly, it was fairly warm, around 78 degrees when we pulled into our driveway around 8:30 p.m. but beginning to cool down. Our house had been closed up all day so the first thing I wanted to do was open the windows and put on the attic fan to pull out all the warm air. And I did. And the house immediately began to feel cooler as the hot air was being sucked into the attic and through the attic window and vents. Then, all of a sudden, we began to see bugs…everywhere! Gnats and mosquitos swarming around the ceiling, covering the walls and ceilings in the kitchen and dining room and living room. It seemed like hundreds of gnats had invaded our home in an instant. I felt like Pharaoh and the Egyptians suffering through the third plague, struck by the hand of God. We were sweeping them down, killing them in bunches. What the heck happened? Where did these bugs come from? Then Susan asked the most obvious question that never occurred to me…”Are the screens in?”
I forgot I had taken the screens out for the winter and although I put most of them back there were four windows that remained screen-less. The fan sucked those critters into the house and they hovered around every light in the house, covering the ceilings and wall like a blanket. I ran downstairs to get the screens and hurried to put them in place. The screens stopped any new gnats or mosquitos from entering our home but we had to deal with the bugs that had already come in. We spent the next hour clearing out and cleaning up. I had assumed the screens were in and my oversight caused a buggy situation!
Screens for windows to keep the bugs out. Sun screen to put a barrier between our skin and the sun rays. Screens to protect our phones, screens to protect fans from errant baseballs, computer log in screens to keep out intruders. We rely on screens for protection and when we don’t have them…or they are compromised in some way, it can cause a great amount of harm, heartache and hassle.
My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:20 – 23).
“Guard your heart.” Put a screen of protection around your heart so that it is protected and does not get corrupted. Just as there are many diseases and disorders that can affect the physical heart, there are many things that attack our emotional and spiritual heart that can cause illness and unhealthiness. Atherosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries due to accumulated cholesterol plaques and scarring in the artery walls. Hardening of the emotional/spiritual heart can also occur when we allow anger, resentment, disappointment, regret, fear, anxiety and hurt to seep in. Not to mention sin and those things that compromise our faith, values and standards.
Scripture, prayer, fellowship. community, worship, exercise are some of the “screens” we use to protect against the spiritual and emotional bugs that swarm around us. There are other screens too. For each person it may be different. and each person needs to find the screens that will help them keep the bugs at bay. It does not mean that the bugs will disappear but they will be kept out if our screens are put in place. And those screens must be inspected and examined; sometimes they may even need to be repaired..or replaced.
One of the most effective screens we can put around our hearts is the peace of God. Paul tells us that we gain that peace through prayer and seeking God. When we experience God’s peace and allow Shalom to possess us, we can live free of worry and experience the life God has planned for us.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Are your screens in place? Do they need replacing? Do they need to be repaired? Do you have the peace “that surpasses understanding?”
What do you think?
How does it make you feel?
Note: I am actually interested in hearing what you think and feel. Your responses are appreciated. And they are private. So feel free to respond with your thoughts and your own reflections to What Do You Think?