I picked up bedbugs about 4 weeks ago. It’s every frequent travelers’ worst nightmare. I’ve always been scared of them and more than a little paranoid. Getting them was so much worse than I could have imagined. I was staying in a very highly rated resort. I shouldn’t have gotten them. The thing about bedbugs is it doesn’t matter how clean the room is, it’s about who brings them in. I just happen to be the unlucky guest who discovered them in my room.
My life is never simple and never dull. I have now discovered I am highly allergic to bedbugs. To make a long story short I had a severe reaction to them. What has followed in the last month has been massive amounts of steroids, breathing treatments, skin treatments, inhalers, Benadryl, etc. I have had a team of doctors on my case. It’s been a little ridiculous. It’s been a little frustrating. It’s been a little scary. I actually ended up getting staph infection in my lungs from those darn bugs. I believe my motto is, “go big or go home”.
A dear friend of mine asked me some tough questions a couple of weeks ago. “Is all we’re here for to be pawns in some giant chess game that God is playing?”. He’s a brother to me and his journey right now is tough. I so appreciated his raw honesty. I don’t doubt my Jesus at all but his questions made me think. What do I really believe to be true? On the heels of a pretty horrible bedbug incident I’ll admit I was feeling a bit battered and bruised. Not that God caused the icky but couldn’t he have stopped it? Why didn’t he? I was on track to finish my last few chapters in book #2. I had just come off of an incredible speaking opportunity at CPC. I had good plans, good events, and good ideas that had to either be canceled or postponed. It just didn’t make sense.
As I sat across from my brother drinking my cold coffee (it was a long talk) I thought about all the times I’ve spoken to kids and taught them that if we believe God is who he says he is then we are here for him. He is a good God who has good plans for us. He loves us completely. He desires to use us to reach a lost world. He is for us. His character is true. And then I thought back to my doctor’s appointment earlier that week. My doctor called and told me to come in right away. She doesn’t do that so I went in immediately. That’s when I found out about the staph infection. I sat in a chair receiving treatment and she sat down next to me. She’s a believer and I’m so grateful for our relationship. She told me that after I had called the day before she had been up late consulting with one of my other doctors. They ended up talking on the phone for quite awhile about me. Through the course of the conversations she was able to lead him to Jesus. She was beaming, “Mel because of your bedbugs he came to know Jesus”. I was sitting in my chair receiving treatment and for a split second everything in me wanted to scream, “I DON’T CARE!” and then my eyes filled with tears and I whispered a simple, “amen”.
Maybe I’m selfish in my pain but I like purpose. I like to know it’s not all for nothing. A week of misery and fear suddenly had purpose. The crazy bites and scars suddenly meant something. I was overjoyed. Amen and amen. Do I believe we’re just chess pieces in some cosmic game? Absolutely not. I believe God desires to use us but doesn’t need us. I believe that God creates beauty out of ashes. I believe that God redeems. I trust my Jesus and I love him even more for taking the icky of my life and using it to create beauty in someone else’s life.
To my brother in a tough season I sounded crazy but we sipped our cold coffee and I told him my story with tears in my eyes. The God of the universe choreographs beauty all around us, it’s our choice whether we acknowledge it or even embrace it. He sings over us, he delights in us, he comforts us, he soothes us. He is good. He is the one I trust. Completely.
The beautiful thing about it all is that God chose to let me see a glimpse of his bigger purpose. I didn’t need that but I rejoice in it. I could have just chocked up those bedbugs to another crazy “Mel story”. Instead it became a holy “God story”.
Those bedbugs. It’s not about how clean the room is, it’s about who brings them into the clean room. Walking with Jesus in a sinful world is hard. It just is. No matter how clean we keep our rooms we’re going to have unwanted things come in. How we respond and adjust and move forward in the midst of the icky will define our walk with Jesus. Curveballs come, hard seasons stay for awhile, the valley seems long, and life is hard. Will you see the beauty in it?
Romans 8:31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?