The neighborhood cat came for her usual visit on the evening my friend and I returned from a brief San Diego vacation. As she bounded through the front door, rather than making her normal fast trip to the kitchen, she paused at the tea cart, placed both front paws on the serving tray, and began to gently bat the lace runner. Unusual behavior, I mused, until I realized that the lace was moving. The cat had discovered that a mouse was hiding on the tray. It had managed to sneak into the house as we were unloading luggage.
While many people are rodent fans, I am not! I fervently prayed that it would exit immediately. As the cat was attempting to corner the mouse my friend and I opened the front door in the hopes it would exit the same way it had entered. We also ran to the garage for brooms. The mouse disappeared and we assumed it was gone—until the next morning when evidence in the window sills confirmed that it was now an uninvited guest in our home.
As this realization moved to my conscious level I knew I had two choices—I could fret about the unwelcome visitor or I could rest in the truth that my loving heavenly Father was providing this opportunity for me to trust Him to remove the mouse in His time and way! I knew that I could choose to be a victim or a victor in this situation. As well, a still small voice reminded me that I was being called upon to apply the same “resting principle” found in James 1:2-8 that I teach my students.
As a professor I have two primary responsibilities to my students. The first is to provide them with instruction in the subject-matter content, and the second is to determine whether or not they have mastered it. Their subject-matter mastery is usually measured in the form of a test—and it is always my desire that they will earn a high grade on it. I know, however, that for it to be a valid measurement, the test must be difficult enough to align with their academic maturity. I do them no favors if it is too easy, and it is not a reliable measurement if it is too difficult.
As I gazed at the window sill I knew that I needed to “count it all joy” that the mouse was in the house. Obviously my gracious heavenly Father decided that I had achieved some mastery in the biblical truth of joyfully resting in Him during a difficult situation, and He was now providing an opportunity for me to practice it. Even though I did not like the test it was comforting to know that my heavenly Father wanted me to pass the test at the top of my class, not simply squeak by. I was reminded that James 1:2-5 teaches me that the testing of my faith should produce deeper communion and greater trust in Christ—qualities that in turn produce a stable, godly, and righteous character.[i]
The uninvited guest stayed with us for 11 days. We attempted to use a variety of means to remove it from our home to no avail. Each day, as I chose to rest in the Lord and wait for His solution He provided peace that allowed me to be a victor rather than a victim (Psalm 37:7). My friend and I continued to live life as normally as we could—but the brooms were always handy just in case.
On the evening of the tenth day I noticed that my neighbors’ garage door was open and felt I should share the fact that there were mice in our neighborhood looking for housing. He laughed and said that it happened frequently at his home and he simply used an “old fashioned” mouse trap to remedy the situation. He kindly set one for us. The next morning a note lay on the night stand next to my bed that simply read, “THE TRAP WORKED!”
It is my prayer that the mouse in the house test will always remind me that when my heavenly Father is testing me that I can be a victor as I choose to rest in Him. Recalling that a victim is an individual who suffers from a destructive or injurious action and is deceived or cheated, while a victor is a person who has overcome or defeated an adversary will help me to believe that my heavenly Father will help me to pass His tests (Philippians 4:13).
Satan is my adversary, and he “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8-9). Essentially, he is seeking opportunities to overwhelm me with temptation, persecution, and discouragement. If I succumb to his ploys, I become a victim. However, if I resist him and choose to live according to God’s Word, I become a victor. James 4:7 instructs me to submit myself to God and resist the devil. When I make the choice to submit to God, I am taking a stand against Satan. This action moves me from victim to victor status. Oh, and by the way, the brand of the mousetrap? Victor!
Visit The Everyday Homemaker next week as we focus on adding vitality to your Spring.
If you are in the Fort Worth area consider scheduling a tour of Horner Homemaking House, Southwestern’s Management Model where our Homemaking classes are taught.
Blessings on your week as you focus on making your house a home!
[i] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville: Word, 1997), note at James 1:5.