For about the past two months, I have been suffering with hives and an itchy rash on my body. I have had allergies to different medicines, chemical, etc. in the past. So I thought it was a reaction to my laundry detergent. So I stopped using it, washing all my clothing and bedding in vinegar several times. Rash continued. So…I decided that there must not be a way to completely wash the detergent out, so I replaced all my clothing and bedding (note: I needed new clothing anyway, because I have lost a lot of weight, so that wasn’t a waste of money). Still had hives and rash. So, I thought it must be a reaction to a supplement I was taking. I stopped taking it. A week later I still had a rash. Then, my husband suggested perhaps I had a citrus allergy, because we eat a lot of oranges and grapefruit. So I stopped eating it. A week later, the rash and hives were still there.
I was itching 24-7, couldn’t sleep, taking Benadryl every night, which helped, but the hives and rash kept coming back, and it seemed to be getting worse. I asked for prayer that the rash would go away and people prayed for me. But still the rash and hives persisted. I was desperate and in tears this past Thursday morning, so I called the Christian Broadcasting Network’s prayer line and asked the person on the other line to pray. We are getting ready to leave on a vacation out of the country in a week, and I wanted to be able to go and enjoy myself. She specifically prayed that God would show me the reason for the rash, and that He would heal me of the rash and hives.
Later that morning, I was making my bed and when I finished, I noticed a small brown bug on my shirt sleeve. Previously, we had seen two of these and the first time I didn’t think anything of it. The second time, it got away from us. So we put this third bug in a sandwich bag and took it to Orkin. They took one look at it and said, “That is a bedbug.” I was devastated. The dreaded scourge you read about, see in documentaries, and hope you never get, was in my house! I was horrified! Me, the lady who is OCD about having a clean, uncluttered house, and I had bedbugs. And apparently, I was extremely allergic to their bites. Right now my arms, legs and upper torso are covered in itchy hives. So God answered her prayer and showed me the reason why, within the same day!
So…the man came today to assess and tell us what needed to be done, and most importantly, how much this was going to cost. They are scheduled to come Tuesday. They do a heat and chemical treatment to every room in your house. They then come back once each week for two weeks for a follow-up to make sure they are gone. Then, you have them come bi-monthly for an entire year as a preventative. All of this costs $2,600. Not only that, there is a whole list of things we have to do before they come to prepare, which will take the better part of the next three days to do! (Thankfully, I am retired, so I have plenty of time to do it!)
The next morning after I called for prayer, I asked the Lord, “Why didn’t you tell me what was causing my hives?” His answer, “You didn’t ask. You have been focusing on the problem, instead of the solution. Read the scriptures you were given by the prayer partner, and focus on the solution.” So I began to read the verses she gave me out loud. I read them all. And then I went to my room, made my bed, and the bug appeared on my sleeve. (Bedbugs can’t fly, by the way.) And then He began to show me the spiritual lesson in all of this.
When this all began to happen, I just assumed I could handle it. I am extremely independent, self-assured, and resourceful. Surely, I must be able to take care of it, but I wasn’t. Why did I not just humble myself and go to the Lord and ask Him what it was and what I needed to do to take care of it? I could have done that, but instead, I relied on my own strength.
The other lesson I learned is that oftentimes we try to treat the result of whatever the problem is, instead of finding out what the root of the problem is. It is more work to do that, but in the end, it works out better for us. We often want the shortcut way, the easy way, but we need to do it the right way to get the correct result. I feel like the entire fourth chapter of the Book of James applied to this situation. Please read it for yourself. I especially think this section is particularly applicable:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
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