What my wound taught me about sin
// September 5, 2018, 4:20 pm
Last year, I noticed a little pimple-like bump on my leg.
Thinking little of it, I slathered some pimple cream on and hoped it would heal. Unfortunately, last year was also a highly stressful one as I prepared to study overseas.
So what started out as a minor skin infection grew into a pus-filled abscess that looked like a palm-sized bruise. The infection had caused my flesh to “melt” away. It responded to antibiotics, but worsened once I stopped. And I would also forget to take my meds some days.
The staff nurse on my campus clinic finally stopped the medicine, saying that my body would heal itself … or the doctor would have to cut it out. I was in such pain that I wished it would have just gone away. And I guess my body concurred because one fine morning – it burst.
I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say the blood and pus would not stop flowing for days. Today, the wound has closed – on the surface – but it took months of healing, recurring pus build-ups and a few more burst abscesses.
My long and agonising recovery reminded me of the book of Judges – it’s the one with the stories about Deborah, Gideon and Samson.
When I was a little girl, we would shout “Joshua, Judges, Ruth!” – a little joke we made while reciting the books of the Bible. But when I became an undergraduate, I saw how the human judges were foreshadows of Jesus the Messiah. The book of Judges was still a pretty bright place to be, seeing how it points to Jesus.
A decade later, I reread the book of Judges properly, and found the stories aren’t exactly as PG as I thought as a child. They might not even make NC-16 in all honesty.
The book starts out pretty innocently, with God’s people sort of wanting to obey Him, but just not doing it. So their neighbours fight them, and they lose because they were sinning. Then they cried out to God, and God raised up a judge who led them to victory.
From hopelessness to triumph. Sounds like the story will end the way Jesus finishes the fight for us, right? Well no, the sin of the Israelites goes on to continue through the generations.
Yet we blindly fill our lives with things, people and activities to distract us from that ache.
By Judges 17:6 we can see, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” The book of Judges even ends with the same phrase: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25).
There was no king, and people were making arbitrary decisions about war and taking justice into their own hands. They had let sin fester in their lives – like a pus-filled abscess – and it was eating them up. Their hearts were tainted by the infectious rot of sin.
It was a time of darkness, bleakness and unsettledness.
Today we know from the Word that a King would eventually be born unto them, and His name would be Jesus.
But suspend that for a moment, and feel the ache of the people for a king. Let us feel their desperation; how they clutched at anything that made them feel better and normal – anything to fill that void.
We need to recognise that deep within us, we have that same longing for Jesus to return and make all things right. Yet we blindly fill our lives with things, people and activities to distract us from that ache. But Jesus fills those spaces with His light.
Let’s be who we were meant to be: People of the light, drawn to the Light of the world (John 8:12, 9:39).