Lessons Learned in the Flea House


How do you maintain faith during difficult times? One woman shares her experience while living in a flea-ridden house.

"I can't do this, Lord!" Tears fell, washing the worn and cracked linoleum. I was attempting to scrub my "new" kitchen floor. Every time I thought I'd found the bottom layer of grease and grime, another surfaced in muddy pools. I raced outside in disgust, only to be driven back inside the filthy kitchen by bitter February cold. "I can't do this—please help me!" was my constant cry.

Rodents in various sizes and stages of life, holes in the walls, the ceiling, and floors—all convinced me this was more than I could bear. But in the days to come I began to say, "Yes, Lord. I surrender to Your will. This is hard. I need Your grace. But I trust You." 

It took a bit before I fully surrendered, but eventually that kitchen became my sanctuary. Jesus' fellowship in that grime-covered room was more intimate than I'd ever experienced. His glory filled the room as He met me there in the early dawn hours. I remember the day I looked around at the now-precious kitchen and vowed to God that I never wanted to leave this house if it meant leaving His presence.

Today I have such fond memories of the "flea house." What began as an "I can't do this nightmare" became one of my most treasured seasons of life. Oh, not because the physical circumstances improved; they didn't really change much. No matter how much I scrubbed, I never found the bottom layer of "grime-less" linoleum. And although we patched the large hole in the floor and rid ourselves of most of the rodents, the fleas' continuous life cycle was a challenge to the very end! 

Although the house was basically the same when I left as when we moved in, my heart was not. My heart was changed. I now understood why David preferred to be a doorkeeper in God's presence over any worldly success without Him (Psalm 84:10–12).

The flea house served as a refining tool. He took me to a deeper level of surrender there. As I was pressed, stretched, and challenged, issues of the heart began to surface that lay untouched before. Refining is the necessary work of a gracious God.  

Are you facing anything that seems impossible? Do you find yourself struggling with anger, frustration, or the temptation to "just give up"? Have you surrendered to His refining work?

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