By Matt Greco
I can think of no earthly reason why God created Poison Ivy! I am relatively sure that it was not in the Garden of Eden but came along after the ground was cursed, somewhere between the thorns and the thistles. It has been a problem for me all my life and approximately 85% of all humans have allergic reactions to the oils from the plant. When I was younger, I could get the rash if I went past the plant and a wind was blowing in my direction. It is estimated that 2 people a year die from exposure to poison ivy, not many, but I bet that everyone who is allergic to it suffers from its effects.
I got it again this year. Weed eating my neighbor’s back fence and not paying attention to what I was doing. It was all up and down my arms and a little on my legs. So I am lying in bed the other night trying not to scratch and praying to the Lord, no sorry…, complaining to the Lord about my plight and it hits me all of a sudden that in many ways poison ivy is like sin to the believer. Let me explain.
Scripture teaches me that before I confessed and believed in Christ, that I was dead because of my sin. (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2: 1 – 10) But now, because of Christ’s death and resurrection, I have new life and sin no longer has the power to kill me spiritually. (Romans 8: 2; Corinthians 5: 17) But, sin is still around and as believers, we still battle against sin. Enter my analogy about sin and poison ivy.
If we are careful, we can avoid stepping into or brushing up against it, however, if we are careless or overconfident, we can get into it. It is not usually fatal, but it can sure make our lives miserable for a while. It is unsightly, it is annoying, it itches, and it can make it very difficult for us to participate in certain activities. No one wants to hug who is covered in it, you are not supposed to go swimming if you have open sores from the rash, and if you have it and you sweat at all, it irritates the outbreak all the more.
Now I do not want to trivialize sin when I compare it to poison ivy! Sin destroyed man’s relationship with God. Sin separates us from God. Sin causes judgment and death. Sin has had and is much more destructive and can have much more lasting consequences in your life. However, sin is also unsightly, it is annoying, it itches, and it can make it difficult or impossible for us to participate in certain activities. God’s answer to sin was and is Jesus Christ. My life and your life can be transformed by Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I can say I am grateful to the Lord that I was lying awake at three o’clock in the morning because of the burning and itching of poison ivy because as I turned to Him, He met me in my situation and gave me comfort and instruction. He is there for all of us who will turn to Him. Don’t wait until you are drowning in your sin or suffering from the consequences of bad decisions or scratching from Toxicodendron radicans. (Deuteronomy 4:28 – 30)
Matt Greco is a member of FCC and the Headmaster of Faith ChristianAcademyy.