Sunday, May 7, 2017


If there is one thing that has consistently and persistently irritated me since I've come to Lebanon, I can say without a doubt it's the mosquitoes. I still remember my first month or so last year, battling mosquitoes in the middle of the night, feeling very frustrated. I bought the VAPE plug-in red and blue dispenser with its light blue liquid that was supposed to stun the mosquitoes into unconscious wooziness. I used it several nights, with minimal success, and a great deal of worry that I was the only one who would suffer ill effects from using this chemical regularly.

Soon a friend told me about the electric mosquito zapper. It looks like a small tennis racket but instead of strings, it has a criss-cross pattern of thin wires on both sides. The racket is recharged by plugging it into a wall socket and once fully charged, it gives a mild electric charge through those wires. When it comes in contact with a mosquito (or any other flying insect, for that matter), there is a satisfying set of explosions as the mosquito is fried into dust and ashes. Often my racket isn't fully charged, so after the first zap that stuns the mosquito, I hurry it into the bathroom and tap it over the toilet, then flush it down to oblivion.

While the zapper works wonders, it still implies that mosquitoes continue to enter my room, otherwise I wouldn't need it. I've stuffed a plastic bag in the window sill to make sure they don't come through the small air holes at the bottom of the wire frame. I've put a plastic bin over the shower drainage hole in my bathroom. When I'm in my room, I keep a small fleece blanket in front of the door to block the inch or so space between door and floor. Yet the little demons continue to come in. I've decided they either come through the ventilation in my bathroom, or under the door during the day when I'm out. Or, perhaps, they are super mosquitoes and can fold their wings to squeeze through the small squares in my window's mosquito-proof grill.

One night I had 7 mosquitoes in my room. I was up every two hours or so, killing them one or two at a time. I have several tactics, most of which involve seeing the mosquito first, of course. Usually, their bite wakes me up and I quickly turn on the light. If I'm extra lucky, they will be sitting on the wall by my head, my zapper which I keep by my bed will be fully charged, and I'll get them right away. If I miss, or the zapper is dead, then I pull the blankets up to my chin and lie in the dark, waiting for that annoying whine. Then I repeat the same scenario. The problem is, sometimes it can take up to 30 minutes for the mosquito to buzz around again.

Some nights, to keep from staying up for too long, I turn on the light in the bathroom. This has a 70% success rate, as the mosquito often follows me into the bathroom and I can then shut the door and do battle in a much smaller space. If all of these fail, I often fall asleep from sheer exhaustion and let the mosquito bite me, though it's usually happy about the first two bites or so. Now that spring has officially arrived, I can sleep with the ceiling fan on which supposedly, due to physics and mosquitoes being unable to fly in wind, should keep me somewhat safe from their bites. It doesn't always work, as the fan isn't very strong, but it does reduce the number of itchy bites I get.

Every night when I'm awakened by this unwanted visitor, two thoughts enter my head. Mosquitoes must have been invented by the devil and Imagine, if our sins could be transformed into mosquitoes. As annoying as a mosquito is, a persistent sin is even more difficult to get rid of. It hovers around, impossible to destroy, and making life miserable for the person who is struggling with it. There is absolutely nothing good about a mosquito, other than being a source of food in the food chain. Similarly, there is nothing good about sin. It destroys, rather than building up.

The next time I hear that hum and ready my zapper to do war, I will make a new resolve not to let sin get the best of me but to ask God to zap it out of my life just as I electrocute that inch of maliciousness. Sin isn't something we always readily see, but mosquitoes are. So perhaps mosquitoes are good for something then--they remind me of my deep need for a Saviour Who is ready to fight the battle for me as He has already won the victory. 

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