Summer just isn’t summer without a trip to my dad’s house in Tennessee. Nestled in the hills near beautiful Pickwick Lake, my sister and I meet there with our husbands and kids for a week of family fun. Much of the action centers around the nearby lake, where we sun, swim, and boat. This year, mechanical malfunctions beached us all but one day, so the cousins spent hours swimming in the lake, and this mom spent hours lounging in the sand reading.
“Mom, what’s that on your butt?” one daughter inquired as she joined me to tan on land. A few swipes of her towel yielded no answers, so we shrugged it off and leisurely laid on our tummies. Several hours later, we packed up chairs, cooler, snack bags, and towels and headed home for the day.
That evening in the shower, soaping my legs to shave, I felt something on my backside. “Hmmm,” I thought. “Something from the beach must be stuck to my skin.” I tried to pick it off with my finger nail. It didn’t budge. “That’s odd,” I mused. I tried pulling at it. All that did was stretch my skin with it.
And then it dawned on me, mostly because we had just talking about it that morning at breakfast. The topic freaked me out then, and now I was living my worst nightmare.
I HAD A TICK EMBEDDED ON THE BACK OF MY LEG UNDER MY RIGHT BUTT CHEECK!
Ticknaphobia set in. Near tears at the thought that an insect was burrowed in my skin sucking my blood, I reached a place of near panic. I can handle most things – blood, lizards, frogs, even snakes. But creepy, crawly, insects? NO! Just talking about them gives me the heebie jeebies, and now there was one inside my skin, and I was alone at the house where us parents were staying for the week.
Determined to finish my shower, I prayed to the God of all creation, including ticks, to keep me from having a complete melt down and to send help! Breathing deep, I strategized. I still had another leg to shave.
Breathe, Shauna. Remember to breathe.
Finally done, I stepped out and immediately issued an SOS.
“Pamela, I have a TICK in my BUTT CHEECK and I AM FREAKING OUT! You have got to help me. Please come now, and come alone, AND GET THIS THING OUT OF ME!”
My sister’s response? Hysterical laughter! But she headed right over from my dad’s house, located the bloodsucking monster, pinched it out with her finger nails, and flushed it down the toilet and out of my life forever.
I couldn’t even look the little monster in the face. I didn’t want the image haunting me at night.
It took several hours for me to recover from the idea of what happened. In those hours, it occurred to me how much our sin is like a tick.
Difficult to eradicate.
The longer it’s there, the more damage it causes.
The harder it is to get rid of.
And if you don’t get the head, you’re going to have recurring problems.
It’s serious, just like sin. Do I freak out at sin in my life like I freaked out about that tick? Am I panicked to get rid of it immediately?
Jesus explains how seriously we should take sin in Matthew 5:29-30: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”
My sister rescued me from the tick.
Jesus rescues us from our sin.
Do I run to the Lord and cry out for His help to get it all out of my life?
Or do I ignore it, giving it the opportunity to become further embedded and cause serious problems in my life and relationships?
If you find a tick, tweeze it, drown it out with alcohol, burn it. Whatever you do, get rid of it! All of it!
If you find sin in your life, do the same thing! Do whatever it takes to get rid of it. All of it!
Perhaps it’s time for a full body search. Ticks like to hide in the strangest of places, hidden where they can’t be easily detected.
So does sin.
Father, send Your Holy Spirit to search out our entire body for sin. Expose it, even the deepest most embedded sin, and root it out at the head. Leave nothing behind as we become more wholly Yours today.