Sometimes Mother Nature can reach out and bite you.
If you’ve ever suffered the ill effects of a run-in with stinging nettles or poison ivy, you’ll know what I mean.
Both of these plants produce an unpleasant, itchy rash if your exposed skin comes in contact with them. If this happens when you’re out in the woods and nowhere near a pharmacy to buy rash cream, where do you find some relief?
From Mother Nature herself!
The wilderness might have stung you, but it also provides an effective solution.
Plants such as dock and jewelweed (also called touch-me-not) help relieve the sting from nettles and the itch from poison ivy. The sap of these “rescue” plants, when rubbed on the skin, provides a cooling, soothing effect. Native Americans have known this trick for millennia.
Conveniently, dock and jewelweed can usually be found growing in the same area as poison ivy and stinging nettles.
Coincidence? I’m not so sure.
I think God placed the “cures” near the harmful plants on purpose.
For one thing, He knew we’d need a ready remedy for skin woes when out in the bush.
Also, it illustrates a truth contained in the Bible:
When we are faced with temptation, God always provides a way of escape along with it.
Scripture tells us:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
It’s almost inevitable that believers will face temptation at one point or another. It’s not a sin to encounter temptation; after all, Jesus Himself was tempted by Satan several times. It’s how we respond to the temptation that makes the difference.
Hint: the right way to respond to temptation is not to give in to it!
Rather, we should flee from situations that are potentially damaging to our spiritual walk, and instead run right into the arms of our Saviour. Jesus knows what it’s like to live as a human being, with all our weaknesses, burdens, and temptations. He can relate, as the saying goes.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Although Jesus was faced with the same sorts of temptations that we are, He never gave in to them (unlike Oscar Wilde, who wittily said, “I can resist everything except temptation!”).
Because Jesus overcame temptation and never sinned, He is perfectly placed both to understand our weaknesses and to help us overcome them. And if we do sin, He has provided the means by which we can be forgiven, through His atoning work on the Cross.
Jesus is our way of escape.
So no matter what you’re facing, whether you’re in the wilderness or in a metropolis, God has a remedy for what ails you!
© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.