Not too long ago, I awoke to legs that itched horribly. They were covered in more mosquito bites than I’d had in a very long time. I couldn’t even remember how I got them. I don’t recall being surrounded by a swarm or batting away while they bit. Yet, there were the bites.
The funny thing about this is that we had just moved from mosquito country. I cannot describe how many mosquitoes there are in Almyra. Most people don’t believe the stories unless they have been there. It’s not just a dawn and dusk thing. It’s all day and night. Garages filled with thousands of mosquitoes (we had two ceiling fans and two floor fans running constantly in our garage just so we could get in and out of our vehicles). Doors entirely unusable if there wasn’t something rigged to repel the pesky bugs. Fat frogs everywhere.
The thing about living in the middle of mosquito country, though, is that we were constantly aware of the threat. We actively fought mosquitoes daily.
Now, though, we’re in a new location. The mosquitoes aren’t nearly as bad. They don’t visibly swarm us. They don’t cover our windows or swarm our garage. So, it becomes easy to forget about them until it’s too late and we are covered with bites.
Spiritual struggles are often like the mosquito contrast. When we’re constantly and heavily hammered by temptations, struggles, or challenges, we build our big fortresses against those difficulties. We are on guard. Fighting becomes the norm, and our senses are aware. As a result, the casualties are few.
But when the issues are mild, we often forget to build our defenses until after we face the consequences of an attack. We wake up one morning to find ourselves beaten down in failure or overwhelmed by the consequences of sin. We are more miserable than we ever had been when surrounded by struggles.
One evidence of spiritual growth is an increase in our vigilance no matter what surrounds us. We actively and intentionally center our energy on Christ at all times, not just in the tough times. The result is that our guard is always high, whether the threat is great or small.
I’m learning to be more attentive to the occasional mosquito now that the hordes are gone. I haven’t had a massive outbreak of bites since that morning. I pray my spiritual life is growing even more profoundly, whether the challenge is great or small.