We can grow accustomed to sin without realizing we’re starving our souls.
“I want you to check for intestinal parasites,” I told their pediatrician.
“They don’t have parasites. They don’t show any symptoms. Perhaps they’re underweight because they haven’t been fed enough.”
Their doctor seemed certain. I doubted.
“I want them tested anyway. We adopted them from an orphanage two months ago. If they’ve been living with intestinal parasites for all this time, perhaps their bodies have adapted? Perhaps they’re still starving no matter how much they eat?”
Anna and Zach, then six and four, were placed in a Russian orphanage within six months of their births. Considering my questions, the pediatrician ordered intestinal parasite testing for Anna and Zach and told me she’d call with the results in a few days.
My instincts proved correct. The doctor called, informing me that both Anna and Zach had giardia, an intestinal parasite that causes malnutrition and failure to thrive. When I went to pick up their medication, the pharmacist apologized profusely saying that the liquid tasted horrible and there was nothing he could do to make it more palatable.
First dosing . . .
I placed a bowl of M&M’s in the middle of the table, right in the middle of the three of us . . .
“This is going to taste horrible. I’m sorry. But you have a nasty parasite inside you that is starving you. We need to kill it so you can get healthy and grow. So here’s a bowl of M&M’s. I’m going to take the first dose with you. We’ll do it at the same time, okay? Once we’ve downed our medicine, we’ll all grab some M&M’s and get that nasty taste right out of our mouths, okay? Can you be brave?”
They both nodded, surely having no idea what was coming. But hey, if Mom’s willing to down the nasty and there’s candy after, let’s GO for it!
So we did.
All three of us sat there at the kitchen table, medication measured into three tiny plastic cups. On the count of three, we all downed the contents of those cups like shots at a bar.
I shuddered as I swallowed. The medicine was the most revolting thing I had ever tasted. The pharmacist wasn’t kidding! I grabbed for a handful of M&M’s as fast as the two of them did and we all bit into those “melt-in-your-mouth-and-not-in-your-hand” candies to comfort our taste buds.
Poor kids! They would have to take this medication for TWO WEEKS and I only had to endure one dose!
Anna and Zach quickly named the nasty stuff “poop medicine” because they understood that their poop is what showed the parasites living inside them. Every day, they would pinch their noses, down their shot of “poop medicine”, and grab a handful of M&M’s to help them cope with “the nasty”.
~ ~ ~
Not many have fallen prey to intestinal parasites or have had to endure a nasty course of oral medicine as a cure. But we all have spiritual parasites, trying to worm their way into our thoughts by way of our culture—through media and even some friends, family, and churches. Bit-by-bit these parasites of godlessness seek to infest our minds and souls, secretly sucking our spiritual nourishment, leaving us starved and failing to thrive.
Look at us! We’ve become accustomed to our “pick-and-choose” religion. We embrace the parts of God we like and we disregard the parts of God we don’t. Like love, for example.
Everybody loves that God loves. But who likes that God requires obedience? And who likes that God requires us to know and live according to the whole counsel of his Word, as written, not as rewritten or misinterpreted by those of us who have been infected with the parasitic voice from within whispering “Did God really say . . .?”
Our smorgasbord approach to Christianity these days is nothing more than idol worship. We’ve created God in our own image, loving what we love and hating what we hate, instead of loving what God loves and hating what God hates. Really, we’ve erected the golden calf of Self and we call it Christianity. All because we think we know better. We want new and improved. We want easy and quick. We want painless and palatable. We want inspiration but no correction. We want love but we don’t want truth.
And we wonder why there’s a growing sense of hopelessness and despair?
We’ve lost our way.
But there is still GOOD NEWS. There is Jesus Christ who came, who still comes, to set sinners free from the implosion of Self. God in his mercy always welcomes home prodigals who repent, who admit they’ve tried life their way and ended up in a pig trough far from Father God who wants nothing more than resume life-giving relationship with us.
Are we ready to go home? Have we had enough of our wasting away? Are we ready to be healed and made whole, to be washed clean from the inside out?
Oh Lord, let it be today!
Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee:
prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it;
seal it for thy courts above.