Today was a fairly normal day for me… with one particularly abnormal event. I went to a town about 60 miles from where I live to pre-site some potential work sites for an upcoming junior high missions camp I’m directing. As I was touring the host church with some colleagues, we exited the building to the back of the church and I began to feel a sharp, burning sensation in my nose/face area and in the back of my neck. As I began instinctively reacting to the pain, I slowly realized I had been stung by some sort of flying insect, although I had never seen the insect. My eyes began to water and I started running and flailing my arms trying to make sure that whatever had attacked me was not in pursuit for a second run.
After the smoke cleared and I began to see that the door we had used had been inhabited by a very large nest of yellow jackets, who were none to happy about us disrupting their happy home. And while I was not allergic, nor was I still in any immediate danger, I did still have some swelling on my nose and face, and the back of my head. But I have noticed something as the day has gone on. The swelling I have is not really where the sting was. I was stung on the tip of the nose and the swelling I have is on my left cheek, under my eye. After examination, I have drawn the conclusion that in my attempts to eliminate my pain and the source of my pain, I inadvertently punched or slapped myself in the face. (Insert joke here)
As I’ve investigated the source of my pain, I realized the swelling on my face is not unlike the scarring of sin in our lives. I heard it well said that we are most vulnerable to sin when we are “Hurt, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.” ”HALT” is the acronym. I can relate. The times in my life when I’ve been most tempted to do something really stupid seems to be when one or more of these circumstances were true. We as believers simply want to feel something. We want to avoid the unpleasantness of our current circumstance and to simply make the pain go away. And while we may make the pain go away momentarily, we soon find out that in our flailing to get away from the source of the pain we simply punched ourselves in the face.
The first chapter of the book of James puts it this way:
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own(W) evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;(X) and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.(Y)
It’s funny how the Holy Spirit works. As I’ve been going about my business today, thinking about the yellow jackets that stung me, God brought to mind this Scripture which is a timely one, and very relevant. The joy of listening to the Holy Spirit is he often has to say things to us so we can share them with others. So what spiritual or emotional hurt are you trying to escape? Have your efforts to eliminate the pain left you with scars? Has a temporary fix left a long-term mark on your spirit? Pray a prayer thanking God for his provision and asking him to heal our scars…not just the ones from our hurts, but the ones we bring on ourselves.