All I can say is gross! Ticks are terrible little creatures. They literally suck the blood out of any living thing. Two cute little puppies showed up on our porch this morning, and aside from cuddling, feeding, and playing, we spent a good portion of the morning searching for ticks.
We found about a dozen so far, and a couple of them were, let’s just say, full! I’m sure there are more ticks lurking on and in the pups that we didn’t find during this first once-over. But it was a good start. Tick-picking is not a pleasant experience by any means, but I know the danger than animals can be in if they are not removed. If the ticks keep feeding upon the pups, they can cause depression, paralysis, and various diseases. For those of you who don’t know, when removing a tick, you must be careful to make sure the head comes out as well. If not, infection and more problems can occur. So, ever so carefully, I gently stroked and searched the puppies to find and remove the ticks. Some had obviously been there a while, so were easy to see and grab hold of. Some were hidden beneath layers of fur, or were small and hard to identify and remove. It was not a comfortable time for the pups either, but they hung in there like champs, and I could tell they were relieved when it was all over. A little soothing ointment, and they’re good as new.
After destroying the ticks, and washing my hands thoroughly, I kept thinking about how much the ticks reminded me of sin. Sin is everywhere. It takes root deep within us at times. It permeates our being. Indeed, we were sinful from birth. Just like the ticks, the more sin we root out of our lives, the more sin we seem to discover is still lurking in our hearts. Sin attaches itself to us, and won’t let go. Unconfessed and unrepentant, sin causes us worry and depression. It hinders our relationship to the Father. It paralyzes us. It sucks the lifeblood right out of us, causing us much pain and turmoil of spirit. And, if it is not destroyed after being removed, it just attaches itself again to us, or to its next closest prey.
Brethren and sisters in Christ, in what part of our body does sin not dwell?
Is there any single faculty, or power, or propensity that we have which
will not lead us astray if we will let it do so?
Removing those ticks reminds me of the way in which the Holy Spirit gently but firmly takes hold of our sin. Sometimes when the Spirit is at work, it’s a slow and painful process because we may have struggled with a particular sin so long that it feels like removing part of our body, and not just a foreign agent. As I released each tick’s grip on the pups, I stroked their head or paw, spoke soothing words to them, assuring them that everything would be all right. I let them know that have this thing in my grip now, and will not let go until it lets go of them. I assured the pups they were much better off without those nasty ticks slowly but surely destroying them. And our precious Holy Spirit does the same. Convicting, correcting, teaching us, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, interceding for us, doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. By the gracious, gentle hand of the Lord, when we confess our sins before Him, He is faithful and just and forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). The paralysis and pain of our sin no longer plagues us. Rather, we are cleansed with heavenly hyssop, and washed whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7).
O wondrous restoration which has lifted us up,
and made us more perfect than we were before we were broken,
and elevated us to a glory of which we could never have dreamed…