Friday, April 11, 2014

Failing Feet

One summer we visited the Carolina coastline. My son was around 7 and all boy: impulsive, energetic and ready to charge the surf. We got out of the car and the salt air was enticing. In flip flops we started to make our way to the water's edge but first had some low dunes to go through. My son raced ahead, I followed close behind with my husband securing the car.

The surf was loud and the shouts of excitement from my son seemed to be a little louder and he was stopped. When he turned his head I could hear what he was saying, the surf noise carried his "Mom! Help!" from the sandy area. I raced closer, thinking he was bit by some dune snake and suddenly felt pain in my feet.

As I looked down, I discovered we had raced deep into a cactus patch and it was painful. Hidden amongst the sea grasses and flowering vines were very small prickly pear cactus with long sharp tines. They went through flip flops. We were so focused on the water's horizon and call of the waves that we hadn't looked down at our path to the water.

I called for my husband, who had on sneakers on and he picked his way through, scooped up our son and carried him to the soft stretch of sand on the other side. I made my way, dodging sneaky spikes in the sand. We checked our pincushion feet and removed residual tines. There was a lingering pain from the cactus, but cold salt water seemed to help and my son was drenched before we knew it.

When we were ready to leave, we pulled up short and saw a distant boardwalk. We were tempted to take the shortcut back through the cactus, but our feet were reluctant. We took the longer way and got back on the road a little more salty, a little more wise.

Isn't it the same with sin? Sometimes it's pretty obvious and you can avoid it. But sometimes there is a temptation that seems so innocent. It beckons you to come closer. It's the path that leads you to pain.

Have you been taking a shortcut and found yourself in a spiritual cactus patch? Sin can be very painful. The best thing to do is stop, call out to Jesus and let Him scoop you up and carry you to the safe shoreline. He then tells us to "Go and sin no more." (John 5:13-15) Don't go back on that path, time to take a better route in life. One that may take a little longer, but if you ask, He will give you just enough light to help you focus on the next step.

So forget that horizon of tomorrow. Focus on the next step, because temptation is where you least expect it. And it can lead to sin so painful you won't be able to move forward.

And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16

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