Friday, June 18, 2010

Mud Puddles and Our Greatest Need

While on a short walk one afternoon, Avidan noticed a mud puddle in our driveway.  He pointed in the direction of the puddle and uttered, "Go, go!"  I was curious how he would react if I allowed him to walk up to the edge of the puddle, so I motioned for him to go ahead.  As he inched nearer to the murky water, I could see the corners of his mouth rising, smiling at this new found freedom. 
Cautiously and Curiously, he knelt down to view his reflection in the brown, murky water in front of him.  Moments of gazing passed.  An idea had started to form.  Carefully, so as not to disturb the calmness of the water, he gently placed the tip of one solitary finger into the puddle, and waited.  The response of the water to his touch was very slight, barely a ripple was seen.  Another thought formed in his mind.  With the same finger, Avidan began to gently stir the surface of the water, circling in large deliberate strokes over and over across the cool dirty water in front of him.  Ripples and waves began to form, making their way to the edge of the puddle, seeking solace once again.  
Eventually, the novelty of the redundant stirring soon wore off.  Next, Avidan flatted out his hand and stretched out his fingers; looking down to make sure that none were touching.  He quickly looked back at me, as if looking for an expression of approval and then, once again turned his attention to the mud puddle.   Excitedly, he began slapping the surface of the puddle, violently sending water and mud flying, releasing laughter which had too long been pinned up inside him. 
Instantly, it was as if all self-control had vanished.  Standing up, Avidan ran through the puddle, squealing with delight as he felt the cool water slapping against his legs.  Occasionally, he paused to sit at the edge of the of the puddle, throwing clumps of mud at the reflection of himself that initially was calm and lifeless.  
Finally, without considering the outcome, Avidan grabbed a clump of mud, looked at it for a moment, and then without a second thought, he foolishly placed the clump into his wide-opened mouth.  

Thinking back, I realize that I am not all that much different than my son.  Like him, I at times am foolish, not giving much thought to my ways until I have a mouth full of mud and regret.  Sadly, when I am confronted with temptations, I don't always flee from them as I should, but rather sit by the puddles edge, gaze at my reflection and stir the murky water with my finger. What about you?  Do you give yourself permission to willingly flirt with certain temptations rather than fleeing from them.  You know the old saying?  "If you stand too close to a mud puddle, eventually you are going to get wet and muddy."

A friend calls...laughter, joking, and sharing eventually ripple into to small comments that seem to be turning into gossip...The comments, seemingly innocent at first, now carry with them the pangs of regret, because in the end; you had as much gossip to contribute to the conversation.

A child waits patiently to be served fist.  Eventually, your smiling, happy child melts into another creature it seems, crying, kicking, shouting, and hanging onto your leg.  "How am I expected to get lunch on the table when I am dragging a screaming child across the kitchen," you think to yourself, all the while feeling anger welling-up deep in the bosom of your chest.  You feel the weight of your response bearing down upon you, telling you to leave the room and seek a few moments of solitude to pray for strength and wisdom.  But, lunch still needs to be served, so you press on, stirring, cutting, and muttering to yourself.  Sweat begins to pour off of your brow, emotional and physical exhaustion weakening your resolve to stay calm.  In an instant, you lash out, your words cutting through your child's hearts like a knife...your heart hurts too, you know that the hurtful words you had spoken can never be taken back.      

The TV is blasting with another hockey game, your husband sitting comfortably in the easy chair, seemingly oblivious to the house falling apart around him.  You look around...baskets of clothing over-flowing onto the floor, dishes becoming crusty in the sink, children in need of some soap and water "therapy"...deep inside you start to notice thoughts of self-pity taking shape..."He doesn't even care about me!"  You go and sit down in the chair next to him, but rather than cultivating loving thoughts towards your spouse you allow the unbridled thoughts in your mind to continue.  "All he seems to care about are his dumb sports.  Doesn't he realize how hard I work all day?  I shouldn't have to do all of this work by myself."   Later that evening, you can barely look at him, feeling only coldness and bitterness.
Every one of us has foolishly played too close to the puddle at one point or another.  Maybe more often than we even realize.   My intention in writing this is not to in any way to make you feel condemned, but rather to encourage you with the truth that we are all helplessly unable to change on our own.  You may be thinking, "And this is suppose to be good new?"  Actually, it is very "good news"!  God sent His son into the world to save sinners; to rescue us from our sins.  We just don't have the power and strength within us to resist the temptations of this world...without the help of a Savior. 
Avidan's tongue and body, now coated with a gritty layer of thick mud, needed to be I gently picked him up, stripped him of all of his clothing, and placed him into the tub.  Slowly with soap and wash cloth in hand, I began to scrub his little body, washing the crusty mess of mud from his body.  I was glad to see my squeaky clean little boy again.  But more importantly, as the filthy water spiraled down the tub's drain, I couldn't help but think, "I am so glad I have a Savior who washes me clean with the blood of the guiltless lamb.
"See how red is your guilt, mark the scarlet stain.  It you were to wash your soul in the Atlantic Ocean, you might incarnadine every wave that washes all its shores, and yet the crimson spots of your transgression would still remain.  But plunge into the “fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins,” and in an instant you are whiter than snow.  Every speck, spot, and stain of sin is gone, and gone forever."  Charles Spurgeon


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