Thursday, December 5, 2013

what's your scorpion?

i don't remember exactly where we were.  somewhere in israel.

and i don't remember exactly when it was.  about midway through our 10 day trip, give or take a day.

but i remember the parable.

it was told by our shepherd/rabbi/pastor/leader's wife.

and it went something like this...

"there was once a man who had to journey up a mountain.  as he began his journey, a scorpion stopped him.  the scorpion asked the man, 'may i join you on your journey?'.  of course, the man's first response was, 'no, you are a scorpion.  why would i want you to join me on my journey?'.  the scorpion quickly replied, 'well, i, too, have to get up the mountain and i can keep you company along the way'.  after the scorpion convinced the man that he would not sting him or harm him on their journey, the man picked up the scorpion and set him on his shoulder and continued up the mountain.  the journey seemed to go quickly and the hike wasn't as hard as the man thought it was going to be.  he was glad he brought the scorpion along to keep him company and help pass time.  finally, the two arrived at the top of the mountain.  and the scorpion took his stinger and stuck it in he man's neck.  as the man lay there on the ground dying, he reminded the scorpion, 'you said you wouldn't sting me.'  the scorpion replied, 'i said i wouldn't sting you on our journey.  but our journey is done and i don't need you anymore.'

okay.  so i may have paraphrased a lot of it.  but the lesson of the parable is this...just like the man in the parable i tend to want to make my journey, on this side of heaven, easy and comfortable.  and when things get hard and are only going to get harder, i look for something to make it easier, a.k.a. my scorpion.

and just like the man who carried the scorpion and missed out on all the sights, sounds, quiet moments...i too, when carrying my "scorpion" miss out on all that Jesus has for me and the opportunity for Him to shine through me.

why?  why do i want to make it easier and more comfortable?  because i think i deserve it.  truth is i don't.

as i sit and type this, a pastor is being held in an iranian prison under what is said to be deplorable conditions all for the name of Jesus Christ.

as i sit and type this, a video can be seen online of a group of pro-abortionists in argentina raiding a catholic church but are met with a blockade of praying men.  and the rage of the pro-abortionists is taken out on the men...spray paint in their faces, spitting in their faces, bras wrapped around their necks...all for the cause of LIFE.

i am not trying to minimalize my struggles or your struggles...but i needed this parable reminder to help me put things into perspective.  again.

the hikes in israel up mountains and over rough terrain were and are a true parallel to life.  to life as a follower of Jesus Christ.  while in israel we never knew where we were going, only our shepherd knew.  it was physically exhausting from the heat and constant moving up, down, up, down, scaling the side of mountains.  spiritually, some days you felt so close to God and other days wondered, "where in the world are You?".  emotionally and mentally, trying to do battle between what you know as truth and what you see right in front of you (i.e. hezekiah's tunnel).  and while there i didn't need or even want my scorpion.  as hard as some days were, all i wanted at the end of the day was more of Jesus. 

but now, almost six months later, i've gone back to my old habits, my scorpions.  instead of wanting more of Jesus at the end of the day, i would look forward to a drink or two along with a couple of cigarettes.  just enough to take the edge off of what i considered to be a "hard" day...middles fighting/raging, littles learning defiance, olders secluding themselves in their own rooms when not helping with the littles.  i deserve a little relief, right?

no.  i am tired of using alcohol or cigarettes as my crutch as my scorpion.  i never really understood how somebody could say, "i want to live wholeheartedly for Jesus" and actually do it, 'cuz we're all sinners.  but, can i tell you something?  He is doing something in my heart.  He is asking me to live wholeheartedly for him.  to praise Him when my mind goes to a drink or a smoke.  to cast all my cares at His feet and watch Him move.

if brothers and sisters in Christ are standing up for their faith to the point of being persecuted almost to death, then who am i as a Christ follower to give a scorpion a ride on my shoulder as i journey through life this side of heaven?

i'm broken and desperate and in need of my Saviour.

in His grace. and. always. everything for His glory.