Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Scratching that Itch

This is what happens when you jump on the kitchen counter.  "I told you 'no!'"
Poor Franklin.  After a stray cat's bite became infected, Frank wouldn't stop scratching the wound, resulting in the Cone of Shame.  It caused quite a stir when he first had it on.  Captain wouldn't stop staring at him.  Tilly growled.

I might have laughed.

Frank seems embarrassed, but without this drastic, visible barrier, his wound will never heal, resulting in a much worse infection.

There are those times when we can't seem to stop going back to a bad habit.  Whether it's tackling a bag of Oreos (there may be some personal experience involved here) or dwelling on difficult circumstances, sometimes we can't break the cycle.  As a result, the initial problem becomes worse.  Our minds and bodies can become infected with a poison that grows.

Sometimes it takes an intervention of friends, a barrier put up around us, a whispered word of hope, before we can stop making a bad situation worse.

Perhaps we dismiss God's word as being outdated, a fairy tale, or just impractical for our circumstances.  Yet God's people from the beginning regarded it as a kindness for how to live successfully.  As far back as Proverbs, we are told, "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly." (Proverbs 26:11).  I don't like to admit my own level of foolishness, but unfortunately plenty of my own notions and actions have proved out this warning.

Don't get me wrong, not all our pain is a result of our foolishness.  We may find ourselves in the pit of despair through no (or little) fault of our own.  Recently I saw a group that expressed concern for those in emotional distress.  This was great, I thought as I read it. Then I saw the gist of the rest of their message was, "We don't have an answer but we do have a distraction."  Having been in the pit plenty of times myself, I found it difficult enough with the knowledge that God was with me.  It seems that despair would be twice as deep after the temporary distraction if that is all there was to offer.  When we go back to scratching our bad itch, we need someone to pull our hand away from it forever, not for a moment.

As I write, Frank is laying on my lap, purring and dozing, even with the cone uncomfortably around him, seemingly at peace with this scratch deterring measure.

A reproof to turn us from folly doesn't always come in the form of a plastic cone around our neck.  But sometimes it's visible and embarrassing.  Maybe some will laugh, stare, or become hostile, rejecting us.  But there are those who will run toward us and our pain, sitting by as we endure the difficult steps of healing.  That's the kind of person I've needed, and it's the kind of person I want to be, because that's the kind of God we have, great in compassion and mercy.


  1. hmmm, maybe I should wear Frank's collar of shame for awhile. It could possibly help me stop scratching (metaphor for dumb things I

  2. Your words here are encouraging. " as they run towards us in our pain". To know that there is healing from it all gives hope. Thank you :)

    1. There is healing - and it is not a fast fix, but a lasting one (til we rip it off again, which I am prone to do).