It was my freshman year in college when I first encountered my first Halyomorpha halys, more commonly known as a "stink bug." Somehow I had managed to live eighteen years without ever meeting a stink bug but that all changed in my college door room. Stink bugs, I soon came to learn, were not uncommon in dormitory life.
As a squeamish freshman killing stink bugs gave me the creepy- crawlies. I hated the sound and the sensation of the bug's crunchy exterior being squashed beneath my fist full of paper towels - my go-to method for execution. I felt unkempt just knowing the little pests were in my residential dwelling. I marveled at the upperclassmen, the stink bug killing veterans, who could squash the intruders without batting an eyelash.
The end of my college days marked the end of an era, and what I thought would be the end of stink bug encounters. I returned home to my bedroom that had always been blissfully stinkbug-less and gladly closed the chapter of my insect-killing days.
It has been years since I have been in college and I had practically forgotten the unsettling sound of the stink bug's wings. I had successfully put out of my mind the memories of crushing the unwanted, unappealing insect.
Until I heard it.
A flying, buzzing, unnerving bug.
A stink bug.
I knew it the moment I heard the buzz. My eyes darted around the room, trying to pinpoint the location of my intruder. And there he was. Affixed to the windowsill I saw an inch of insect that looked all-too comfortable and all-too alive for my liking.
Without so much as a moments hesitation I reached behind me, grabbed a roll of paper towels off the counter; unraveled; ripped and ran towards the windowsill.
Squash. With one fowl swoop I took out that stink bug. He never saw it coming. He never stood a chance.
And neither did the next twenty or so stink bugs I killed in the coming month. Every day brought another stink bug. In the living room perched on the curtains. In my bedroom sitting on my desk. The stink bugs made their way through every room in the house.
The stink bug intruders didn't come in massive force, just one by one, but they did come with persistence. So I kept coming with paper towels. Every time I heard a faint buzz I reached for my weapon of choice and went on the prowl.
To be honest, I had a few squeamish moments at my first few run-ins with my old nemesis but with every new day and every new stink bug my courage grew stronger. Before I knew it I was taking out stink bugs without so much as the slightest twinge of a flinch. With so much practice, I quickly perfected my aim and squash.
As the seasons have changed the stink bugs have gone into retreat. It has been weeks since I've had an unwelcome guest buzzing around my bedroom but those pesky little bugs have left behind a lesson: the more I'm forced to swat and squash an unwanted foe the less I squirm in the process.
My stink bug saga isn't unique to insects. It is true of every struggle in life. The more often a trial is presented, the more adept we become at handling it. The more I am forced to confront the same obstacle, the same unnerving bug, the more skilled I am at confronting my foe without letting it send shivers up my spine. The more I stand up to my enemy, the less his disconcerting schemes faze me.
The enemy has a cunning way of sneaking into my house and heart. Maybe he learned his tactics from the stink bugs. But if I squash my struggles in the name of Jesus Christ I will become stronger in the process. God will use every stink bug of a situation to impart more of His overcoming power into my soul and into my squashing techniques.
As I continue to squash and stomp on the evil intruders in this life they become far less squirm-inducing. With God as my weapon I am empowered to look the Halyomorpha halys of life square in the eye and say, with confidence and conviction, "You, little bug, don't stand a chance."