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.
It’s a truism that it’s easier to destroy than to create.
I saw this in action recently in my own neighbourhood.
A two-storey house had been damaged internally by fire, although it looked salvageable from the outside. Nonetheless, the owners and insurers agreed that it should be demolished and a new house built in its stead.
I imagine the original house had taken months to build. It probably involved scores of people in its construction: contractors, carpenters, bricklayers, roofers, electricians, plumbers, and the like.
But it only took one man with one large backhoe a few hours to raze that building to the ground.
It was shocking how quickly the structure was destroyed. What could have lasted for decades was levelled in the space of a morning.
A cautionary tale, don’t you think?
If we’re not careful, we can see the same thing happen in our own lives.
Like if your little boy comes in the house, covered in purple paint, and proudly announces, “Guess what, Dad! I’ve painted your car!”
Or when your daughter announces that she’s dropping out of med school to become an itinerant street juggler?
Maybe you’ve been left speechless after you’ve searched the house for the vintage fishing tackle box in which you hid thousands of dollars, and your spouse says, “That old thing? I donated it to the thrift shop months ago.”
How would you like to leave Satan speechless?
Jesus showed us that it’s possible, as long as you have the key.
I received an alarming notice in my mailbox from my neighbourhood association recently.
It informed me that there was an infestation of “dog-strangling vine” in the area. Dog-strangling vine is an unwanted, invasive plant that can choke out native species. The leaflet told me what steps to take if I saw this plant in my yard, and who to report its presence to.
Inexplicably missing from the notice, however, was the answer to a crucial question:
Will the dog-strangling vine actually strangle my dog?
I’ve conducted some research on this vital issue for readers of The Faith Cafe and can assure you that this crafty vine likely won’t strangle your canine. Unless, of course, he sits next to the vine and keeps perfectly still for several weeks. But if your dog isn’t in the habit of sitting motionless next to murderous flora, he’s probably safe from this vicious plant.
I’m being facetious, of course, but perhaps there’s a lesson here for us when it comes to sin:
If we just sit there and take no action to avoid the temptation, we’ll get into trouble.
Being nocturnal, bats search for food at night, but their night vision is fairly poor. So instead they use echolocation, or reflected sound, to home in on insects such as moths. Their built-in sonar directs them to the precise location of the tasty morsels; then it’s just a matter of swooping in and gobbling them up.
So the bats’ prey have to be crafty as well.
Certain species of tiger moth have the ability to emit sonar of their own. As a bat is closing in, the moth emits a fusillade of ultrasonic clicks. This barrage blurs and disrupts the bat’s echolocation: the signal is essentially jammed. The baffled hunter can no longer “see” the moth, and is tricked into thinking its target has vanished. Thwarted, the hungry predator flies away, and the prey is safe.
Our little tiger moth beats its enemy at its own game.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could “jam the signal” of the enemy of our soul? If we could disrupt and counter the lies the world tells us about ourselves?