There are many great ways of learning new words in spanish, but one of the ways that one does not like to learn new words is when one finds out that his new house is infested with morcielagos…bats. Yes, as I heard many different noises coming from above the ceiling tiles…and as I would wake up each morning to see a pile of dirt and poop pellets in the corner of several different rooms of the house, I was forced to ask the owner, “What is this?” And it was in his reply that I learned a new word in spanish…”Murcielagos”…bats…we’ve got them…lots of them.
So, this is a bummer…not that it freaks me out to have bats living inside my roof, or that one occasionally flies into the house and back out as what just happened the other night, but it is the fact that they poop and pee and it leaks down from the ceiling tiles onto the floor. Now, that might be enough to make some of you squeemish, but it gets worse. You see, our roof has several leaks in it that the workers on the house have still not been able to fully repair…and right now we are in the rainy season…so…it rains…a lot. And what happens is that the rain water falls into the ceiling and mixes with the bat poop and pee and then delightfully flows down onto the floor right next to our dining room table, right next to our bed, right next to our shower. Yeah, its pretty gross.
Last night we had another storm. And even though the workers have been here two times to fix the leaks…still the water and poop and pee flows from the ceiling tiles and onto the floor. Truthfully, I hit my breaking point last night. I was so fed up. We just moved into this place and it seems that there have been issues since day 1. So, when the waters were flowing across the floor last night after coming home from our Tuesday youth and kids Bible Study, just like the water that was leaking onto the floor, so was my grace leaking onto the floor…and I snapped. I hit my breaking point and was just so frustrated that I wanted to call the owner right then and there and tell him what he can do with his house…ahem…yeah, I’m sure you get the point.
But, as God often does, He showed me a better reaction that I needed to take. And He showed me this through the wonderful voice of my beloved wife. I so wanted her to scream and curse the house with me, but she wouldn’t. And she simply reminded me…”This is what we signed up for when we said yes to the Lord to take His Gospel message to the world. We didn’t sign up for pleasure and comfort. We didn’t sign up for perfect houses. We didn’t sign up for an animal and insect free environment.” And even though she was absolutely right, I still wanted her to curse the house with me because my top was blown. But she didn’t. And so that made me slow down and really listen to her. And the Lord used it to bring me to repent. And He used it to remind me that the call to serve the Lord is a call to die to self…a call to say yes to the Lord no matter what comes our way…whether it be bat poop and pee dripping through the holes in your roof, or whether it be suffering sickness and disease, or whether it be living in conditions that bring about danger and uncertainty, or whether it be death. The call to serve the Lord is a call to die to my way, my wants, my dreams, my comforts, and a call to embrace all that He has called me to…no matter what.
So, that is not to say that we sit back and let our house fill with bat poop and pee every night, but rather it has to do with my attitude towards that. Am I going to curse the house and blow my top because of how uncomfortable it makes me? Or am I going to rejoice in God and consider it a joy and a privilege that He loved me and saved me and commissioned me to go to the world and share the message of salvation with the lost? Am I going to allow my discomfort to determine the direction of my heart? Or am I going to allow His truth, love, and glory to outshine any of my dark moments?
So, like I said, its not that I become more holy by choosing to live with holes in the roof that drip bat poop and pee on our floors. No, that would be absurd. That’s like the monks of old that used to purposely put themselves in painful situations so that they could learn to deny the flesh. I don’t think that there is anything holy about that. But it all has to do with my attitude. And my desire is to honor and glorify God no matter what situation I find myself in. Like Paul…that I would learn to be content in all situations.
But, I do have a plan. I am going to work as hard as I can in trying to resolve the leaks and the bat issues. If I have to climb on the roof myself or climb into the ceiling to remove or shoo away every single bat that calls my house home, then I will do it. And I pray that I find success. But I will not do it with an attitude of anger or lack of thankfulness. No, I will go in the strength of the Lord and I will do it with a heart that is set on worshiping Him.
So, God often uses Maria as an instrument of sanctification in my life. I’m thankful for that. God often uses the strangest things and circumstances for my sanctification…but this sanctifying tool is one that is new…the poop of the murcielago. This was not the way that I wanted to increase my spanish vocabulary…nor was it the way that I would want God to sanctify me. But His ways are certainly higher than mine. And so may He use whatever He so chooses to fashion me more into the image of Christ for His glory.