During our sojourn we did a little stand up paddle boarding. I managed at one point to fall off my board and bang my leg on a part of the reef below. It turns out that the warm waters of the tropical seas are teeming with bacteria that are anxious to pounce on any open wound. Aware of this, I took precautions against infection. Alas, my efforts were to no avail. I ended up with an infected wound that I am still dealing with.
There is much that can be learned from this unfortunate reality. My little leg wound serves as a reminder of what happens every time I or anyone else chooses to disobey God. No, I don’t mean it literally results in a physical infection of a wound. I mean it introduces a new element of evil into the system of this world that will have a negative effect just as the disobedience of the first two humans ultimately meant my leg would get infected by bacteria even in a seemingly idyllic place countless years later. Oh, come on, Rick. Isn’t your leg wound merely the result of your ineptitude? If you had not fallen off your paddle board none of this would have happened. That is certainly true, but it misses the larger point. Whether I fell off my board that day or not, the threat of infection is still there.
There is no harmless disobedience to God. This is a truth we might easily give lip service to without believing in the core of our being. We need to not just say it, but to believe it with every fiber of our being because it is true. It should help us to remember that every pain we experience, every threat we encounter in this world is a reminder to us that ignoring or disobeying God always has consequences. Always. And those consequences are both devastating and long lasting.
But my little mishap is not merely a negative reminder. It also provides hope. Why is the world this way? Why are there thorns on roses, mosquitoes, snakes, potentially dangerous bacteria in warm tropical waters, and all the rest of the pests and threats of this world? Because God wants us to remember this world is not our home. We have the hope that some day all of this will be restored. God has promised to make all things new, to restore it all. And some day that place that at first glance seems like paradise will actually be paradise. There will be no disease there, no threat of infection, no fear of predators. There will be no fear and no sorrow there. That is the world for which we were created. And that world will be ours because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us.