If Only I Had…​

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A few months back I hurt my back. It wasn’t bad, but it was sore. I ignored it. It never got worse, but it never got better. A few weeks later I did some things that agitated it. I still ignored it thinking it would work itself out. I went on like this for a couple of two or three months; just a real mild uncomfortable pain in my back on a daily basis. What did I do? I kept ignoring it and hoping it would just go away; work itself out. One day a couple of weeks ago I was in the shower and the pain got worse. In fact my sciatic nerve became inflamed and I had severe back spasms. I had to call my husband home from work to take me to the doctors. X-rays showed my back was fine. After receiving a shot and some medicine I proceeded to be on the couch or in a chair or standing uncomfortable for several days. I couldn’t resume my normal activities. I just had to stop and take care of my back and the pain it was causing me.
God always has something to teach me when I am down on my back and this time it was no different. There have been several things I have learned this time and over time I will share with you what God taught me.
One of the first things that caught my attention was the slow process of all this. It was just an agitation and by letting it go and not taking care of it, it turned into a full blown problem.
As I thought about this God reminded me that is exactly how our sin starts. We begin by doing something we know we shouldn’t be doing. It’s minor, but we let it go instead of nipping it in the bud. We let it build not thinking it amounts to anything. We think we can handle the sin on our own. Over time it gets a little worse, but we continue ignoring it thinking we can get a handle on it. We don’t bother God with this little sin because it’s not that bad and we can and will get a handle on it soon. We never get a handle on it and finally one day like my back it explodes and we find a plank in our eyes. We find it has turned into something more than we can handle. 
That one little drink of alcohol a day is not bad. One drink a day isn’t sinning we rationalize. Soon we find we are having two or three a day. We know we have a problem, but we can handle it. We can stop, but we don’t. Finally, one day we find our drinking has gotten out of control. It explodes into a whole bunch of problems. 
Someone shares some gossip with us. We share with another and maybe add to it a little. It makes us feel better about ourselves. It hasn’t hurt anyone so someone else comes along and shares with us another bit of gossip. We share it again and elaborate a little more. Until finally one day we are confronted and it blows up in our face. 
We make a mistake at work and instead of confessing we cover it up. We get asked about it and we tell a lie. We aren’t caught. So something else happens and we tell another lie. Pretty soon we tell so many lies we aren’t sure of what the truth is. Then one day it all comes out; all the lies we have told. 
Eve did the same thing with Satan. He enticed her to take a bite of the apple. Instead of nipping it in the bud she agreed. She had a chance to stop it then, but she didn’t. She encouraged Adam to follow in her footsteps and he does. Do they stop and confess? No they hide knowing what they did. Then God shows up and it all blows up in their face. 
We are all human and we will all make mistakes and fail. The key to remaining faithful is to listen to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our helper and will often convict us of our sin.“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;” John 16:8
My husband wanted me to go to the doctor when my back first began to give me fits, but I told him I could handle it. I didn’t need to go to the doctor. I have found on more than one occasion a friend has come to me and offered advice and instead of heeding it I ignored the advice and thought I could handle things on my own. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”Proverbs 12:15 If I had listened to my husband I wouldn’t have had to miss a week of doing the things I like to do. If we take care of sin when someone first brings it to our attention we wouldn’t have to go through the difficult times. 
I have mentioned this before I hate dusting. I don’t mind sweeping or doing dishes, but I hate dusting. Often times I let the dusting go until it becomes a really big chore. If I would just tackle it before it gets too bad I wouldn’t have such a big job.
Years ago my middle daughter got a splinter in her leg close to her knee. She didn’t tell either of us she had done it. By the time she had told us what happened it was a mess. She ended up in the emergency room and then had to go on to surgery to have a splinter taken out of her leg. The splinter went down to the bone. They left the wound open and we had to take care of an open wound for awhile. It was pretty painful for her. It was painful for us to watch her go through this. If she had just come and confessed she wouldn’t have had to go through so much pain. It’s the same way with our sins. If we take care of them while they are small we wouldn’t have so much pain later on. 
Once we become aware of it, it is so much better to deal with it before it gets out of hand or hurts those around us. We can’t ignore those minor little nuisances hoping they will go away. Those little nuisances will continue to grow until they get out of control. They will fester and then explode hurting not only us, but those around us. 
One day I was trying to read and Kobe our puppy was licking himself. I assume he thought he needed to clean a spot. God reminded me we can clean our bodies all we want, we can take as many showers as we need to have a clean body, but only He can clean us from the inside out. “Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.” Psalm 51:7 (The Message)
I have decided I am going to be a little more aware of my back problems. I am going to watch what I do to keep from having back problems. Now, God has taught me to be more aware of those little nuisances and to rid myself of them before they get out of control. Oh, I know I will not ever be perfect and I know I may rid myself of some of them while others will certainly get out of control. I know I will have to go to God and confess my sin and let Him wash me from the inside out. We live in the world and we will certainly sin more than once. I know that, but if I can just catch it in time, just maybe I won’t have to work so hard on getting rid of it. 
Do you have something that is a minor agitation to you? Is there something you aren’t dealing with thinking you can handle it on your own? Take my advice deal with it before it gets too big for you to handle. The pain is not worth it.
Dear God, once again you have taught me a lesson that I should have learned a long time ago. Instead I think I can handle things on my own. I don’t handle them and they explode and then I have a lot of work to do. Confessing and allowing you to cleanse me from the inside out. I know I will never be perfect as long as I live in this world, but if I can just nip those little things quickly before they become mountains maybe I wouldn’t have to go through so much. May I be more attentive when the Holy Spirit is dealing with me. Thank you for working with me. I am under construction and I have a long way to go. Thank you also for the time I was down and you spoke to me. May I remember the lessons wisely so I don’t have to go through this again. Amen
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