The Quick Fix
In the early years of our marriage, my husband and I moved from a studio apartment to a two-bedroom townhouse owned by a married couple. The second bedroom served as a storage room, mainly to keep some crafts, books, and unpacked boxes. We rarely had a need to go in there.
This all changed when I became pregnant with my first child. We were so excited to decorate the second bedroom! We cleared out all the boxes, painted the walls, and put up a decorative border. Sometime during this process, I started hearing scratching and the scurrying of feet in the walls. After some investigation, we determined that squirrels were getting into the soffit vents (eave vent holes) via a low-hanging branch. Apparently, the squirrels had taken up residence in our walls.
We notified the management and the husband promised to take care of it. He came out and trimmed the tree and covered the soffit vents with screens. We happily continued with our baby room preparations. The crib was purchased, the changing table was set up, we put in closet shelves, the curtains were made…it was all coming together nicely.
Then the smell came.
At first it was barely noticeable. When it became too obvious to ignore, we contacted the management. They initially denied there was an odor and suggested air freshener.
But each day it grew worse until it was no longer contained in the second bedroom. We were starting to smell it in the master bedroom & the bathroom.
We were horrified when we realized where it was coming from. The squirrels must have been inside the walls and unable to get out when the vent was covered.
We contacted the management again and—despite their protests—insisted there was a problem. They finally came out and the husband spent some time on a ladder poking around in the vent with a long stick. This, of course, was unsuccessful. He finally had to hire a company to come in and deal with it.
The end result was that they had to cut a huge hole in the ceiling of the second bedroom so that they could drag out the putrid remains of two squirrels. They disposed of them, patched the ceiling, and went on home.
We went in and surveyed the damage. Pieces of the popcorn ceiling were all over the floor. Virtually everything needed to be washed or redone because the smell had permeated the paint, the border, the shelves, the curtains…not a very happy moment for first-time expectant parents!
As I was praying about the topic of this blog post, the Lord reminded me of this event. I’ve told this story numerous times over the years but have never thought of it as anything other than a commentary on the joys of apartment living.
The Lord showed me something new. Although this is a rather graphic example of a “quick fix” gone bad, it brings to mind some questions:
How often do we try to cover-up our problem areas in our lives with a band-aid solution and hope that it goes away?
Do we just get rid of the outward signs of the problem but never repent and allow the Lord to work on the deeper issues that caused the problem to begin with?
I can think of areas in my life when I tried to do the quick fix, only to have the issue rear its ugly head again and again. It’s kind of like putting air in a leaky tire without ever dealing with the cause of the leak. You keep putting air in and all the while the tire sustains further damage because the core problem (like a nail in your tire) was not dealt with.
I encourage you to ask the Lord to show you areas in your life that need more than a quick fix. If you are constantly repenting of the same sin but don’t ever seem to be making progress in overcoming its presence in your life, there may be a deeper issue that you need to deal with. Much like my squirrel story, if you ignore the problem, it will eventually start stinking and permeating the rest of your life. Plus, it will be so much more difficult and costlier to deal with it!
He who covers his sins will not prosper,
But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
1 John 1:8
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
How much better it is to ask the Lord to search our hearts, sincerely repent, and willingly allow Him to do a thorough work in us! It can seem like a daunting task to begin with, but the victory and freedom from sin is totally worth it, my friends!
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.