By Dr. Julie Barrier
Bugs give me the willies. Always have, always will. If I had my way, I’d strap a ten-pound can of Raid to my back and wear a pair of size thirteen stomping shoes for spider-smushing. Today I want you to face your fears and give you God’s guidance about how to exterminate them.
You may deny bug aversion, but everyone is scared of something.
Just Google a list of phobias. Ablutophobia means fear of bathing. Men were born with that one. Arithmophobia is a fear of numbers. I’ve had that one since algebra. Alektraphobia is the fear of chickens. Colonel Sanders had that one, God rest his soul. Fears abound under every letter of the alphabet.
You can have xyrophobia, fear of razors (my husband has that one, too), or zemmiphobia, fear of the great mole rat. Bats (the flying kind — not the wooden kind) give me the willies. Mice, snakes and aggressive geese cause me to shake and shiver.
Losing my car in the mall parking lot is a perpetual fear, probably because I do it at least once a week. However, every other fear of mine pales in comparison to my bug loathing.
There are no creepy crawlers in heaven. How do I know? Insects are of the Devil. Remember the Egyptian plagues and the locusts of Revelation? Baal means “lord of the flies.” I rest my case. “Thus saith the Lord, ‘Neither buggeth, nor wormeth, nor roacheth nor spidereth shall inhabit my holy home.’” 1 Julie 1:24.
A bugless world is Utopia. In a perfect world, fire ants couldn’t zap my ankles and torment my pudgy cocker spaniel, Penny. In a perfect world, cockroaches couldn’t infest my sugar bowl when I go on vacation. Mosquitoes couldn’t feast on my flab when I hike through the woods, and ticks couldn’t torment my poodle doodle when she forages through the oleanders. In Utopia, centipedes can’t find refuge behind my guest room toilet on a hot June day, and desert scorpions wouldn’t wag their stinger tails on my patio in devilish defiance.
My abhorrence of all things “insectual” began at an early age. A wolf spider (not werewolf), a cricket (not Jiminy), a praying mantis (really an agnostic), a katydid (oh, no she didn’t), and a beetle (not the band) filled my mind with little girl terror.
Invisible pest predators were the worst. During my preschool summer days, chiggers infested the lush bermuda grass in my backyard and took up residence between my toes. The more I scratched, the more they itched and scooted around underneath the skin on my lumpy feet. Daddy said nail polish would suffocate the little boogers, but Mom disagreed and washed me in a chigger soap that smelled like rotten eggs and black tar. The chiggers died, but nobody would sit next to me at Vacation Bible School.
Tiny black ants surreptitiously invaded my chocolate chip cookies at the church picnic and added extra zing to my red Kool Aid. The wicked stings of “no-see-‘ums” at the lake (Daddy didn’t know their proper entomological classification) gave me welts on my posterior.
Yes, the most irritating bugs were the ones I couldn’t see!
Ladybugs and doodle bugs were safe “little girl” insects. Their bright red and black spotted shells made them fashion icons of the bug world. Florescent butterfly wings flapping in the breeze paled in comparison, fireflies glistening in the night sky were a “flash in the pan,” but ladybugs were practically perfect in every way. Lulu, our favorite ladybug, minded her manners when she scuttled up Kathy’s forearm, tickling only a little bit. She didn’t even holler when my little sister pulled off a leg or two.
So how do we eradicate the trepidation that torments us? Let’s take a look at three of Satan’s fearing attacks and see what God has to say about them.
Job 3:25 “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” NIV
The thud of defibrillator paddles rocked me to the core. “I can’t stand up,” my husband weakly whispered early one Sunday morning. Somehow I helped him limp to the car and I drove like a bat out of hell to the emergency room. He was in VTAC, a deadly heart rhythm that could claim his life. I stared my greatest fear in the face-losing my precious husband. He survived, but I died a little inside. Tarantula fears like death, disease and divorce can “sucker punch” you.
So how do you respond to tarantula fears?
Psalm 27:1 encourages us with God’s great power. “The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” NIV
The only reason Peter didn’t drown on the choppy Galilean sea was he kept his eyes on the face of his Master. How do you really do that? Spend time praising God, reading His Word and meditating on His faithful character.
Ask Him to give you a heavenly perspective. Gaze on God and glance at your problem. I am not suggesting that your peace will come overnight, but in time I have found it to bring supernatural peace to my soul. I also have a close-knit group of prayer partners. Their faith encircles me and holds me up.
Black Widow Fear
John 3:25 “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.”NIV
Deadly black widows lurk in corners, in dark places. Black widows are pretty. They don’t look dangerous, but their venomous bites are devastating.
Evan, my best friend’s son, was happily bobbing in the shallow end of the pool with my daughter Bronwyn at his side. Teresa, his mother, and I sat chatting in the poolside chairs beside our little charges. One second our kids were splashing away, and suddenly Evan was drowning before our very eyes. He was still standing in the water, but his blue eyes had a glassy stare and he was motionless. Evan wasn’t breathing. Teresa leapt in the pool, fished her baby out and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. If we had looked away for a moment longer, Evan would have died.
Our inattentiveness almost cost Evan’s life in a nanosecond. Don’t let black widows sneak up on you. Stay out of dark corners. Clean out the cobwebs of your life. Overspend once, twice, and third time and suddenly you are drowning in debt. Now you are facing foreclosure on your home. You’re terrified. But you inched into the dark shadow of greed and it almost poisoned you. Walk in God’s light and be hypervigilent.
Expect Satan to booby-trap you. Wear God’s armor, and keep yourself accountable to a godly brother or sister.
The poet in Psalm 91: 9-14 says:
“If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your dwelling. For He orders his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone. You will trample down lions and poisonous snakes; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The LORD says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.’” NIV
Proverbs 19:23:“Fear of God is life itself, a full life, and serene—no nasty surprises.” The Message.
Ladybug fear is the fear of the LORD, the beginning of wisdom. Reverence God. Worship Him and get to know His character. Spend time in solitude and silence to calm your soul. Even if your teeny weak ladybug legs are pulled out from under you, you’re still in God’s huge hands. You can rest there, safe and sound.
Tragedy has hit my family this year more than anytime in my life. But I’ve walked with God a long time now. I know He is faithful and never leaves my side.
My husband is a lot like God. I hold the firm belief that most women marry for the sole purpose of having someone large and brave around to do all of the cricket chasing and spider smashing. When I see something hairy or squiggly, I simply call my husband’s name and my hairy “shoe fairy” rescues me from peril. He is my strong, brave Terminator. I shall fear no weevil.
For over 25 years, Dr. Julie Barrier, along with her pastor-husband, Dr. Roger Barrier, has been in demand as a national and international conference speaker, addressing topics such as marriage, ministry, Biblical study, and women’s issues in 32 countries. The Barriers are founders and directors of the Preach It, Teach It website, www.preachitteachit.org, providing sermons, devotionals, blogs, and videos by 100 internationally renowned teachers and authors such as Francis Chan, Josh McDowell, Max Lucado, and Beth Moore in 213 countries. Julie also taught Biblical Foundations of Worship, Conducting, and Arranging as an adjunct Professor at the Dixon School of Church Music at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.