For some reason, my bedroom is very different from the rest of the house. Not just in decoration, though that's true--Mom didn't choose wildflowers and teacups as her decor--but in the basic creation of the room, it's different. It's usually hotter than the rest of the house--or if the temperature is cold outside, it's colder than the rest of the house in my room.
And for awhile, it stunk.
I don't mean as in it wasn't fair.
I mean it SMELLED.
I couldn't figure out why. I'd cleaned it up and wiped it well. It still stunk.
Then I remembered the mouse trap I had set earlier in the week, because the little fiends were invading my private space. I checked and sure enough, one had succumbed to the clap of metal spring. And was decaying.
In MY room.
I managed to dig up enough courage to pick the trap up and take it out to the pasture so I could dispose of the creature.
The smell soon left my room, and all was well in the world.
Until something else starting stinking a bit. But this was something I could help.
This was my life.
When life stinks, it takes more than just cleaning and wiping to get rid of the problem. We have to dispose of the "mice" in our lives that are causing the smell.
When someone else receives what we want, and a little seed of envy is allowed to grow, there's a mouse in the house.
When we worry and despair about the future, and how our lives will pan out, instead of laying our fears at the foot of the cross and trusting God with everything, there's a mouse in the house.
When we don't view our relationship with God as number one in our lives, and let other things become a fake source of fulfillment and joy, there's a mouse in the house.
When we think God has forgotten us, isn't being fair with His gifts, and owes us, there's a mouse in the house.
When we choose to just not care about doing what God has given us to do right now, because we want to be somewhere else, there's a mouse in the house.
The thing about dead mice is, if you don't deal with them right away, they will stink very quickly. I could clean my room until 2020, but until I dealt with the dead mouse, the smell was still there. Likewise we can fill our lives with every activity, every good thing, but until we deal with what's causing "the smell", it will still stink.
I once heard someone say, "When life stinks, it's time to change your perfume."
I think there is truth in that, but I would say the principle runs deeper--when life stinks, it's time to check for the source.
Perfume might cover it up, but it won't get rid of it.
John 15:4-5 says "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."
The Greek for abide means to be held, to live in, to remain as one, to tarry--when we remain and live in Christ, our stinky lives become fragrant--we are no longer living them in our strength, but in His. We are, in essence, one with Him--and He is in control our lives. Living in Christ means realizing that no matter what happens in my life, God loves me, and I know I can trust that His way is always best.
When the seed of envy tries to take root, I can offer it up to Him, knowing I will always have everything I need,and He is good. When fear or despair start to creep inside of me, I can offer them up to Him, knowing He will never leave me nor forsake me.
That's not to say that because we live in Him, life will always be a bowl of cherries (or a "chair of bowlies", as one painting I saw said).
Rather, it means that despite the difficulties, we can still choose joy, because He is enough.
Truly--He is enough.
I've often wondered what went through the mind of that little rodent under my bed the last few seconds of his life in the trap.
It's definitely not a romantic way to die like plum pudding.
Especially for a mouse.