Friday 29 November 2013
Australia is home to a rather insidious parasite, Ixodes holocyclus, more commonly known as the paralysis tick. It occurs in a 20 kilometre wide strip all the way down Australia's east coast and is particularly prevalent from August through to February when it is hot and humid. An adult female of this species can cause paralysis by injecting neurotoxins into its host as it feeds, and every year many pet dogs and cats succumb to its poison - left undetected, the results are often fatal.
It's surprising isn't it? That such a small creature can affect a much larger and seemingly more powerful host like a cat, dog, or even a human being, in such a devastating way. Because the paralysis tick starts off so small it frequently goes unnoticed, even as an owner carefully searches through the fur of the family pet each day.
But each day it remains, it feeds off its victim and grows stronger.
Each day it remains, it injects its poison and its larger and more powerful victim becomes weaker. The poison works through the host's body and silently yet stealthily saps its strength.
The paralysis tick sucks up lifeblood. The paralysis tick replaces that which gives life with that which ultimately has the potential to bring death...
...but before it kills its victim it immobilises it. It paralyses. The host is conscious, but gripped in a state of powerlessness. Weakness. Unable to move.
And that, in many ways, describes me. I too have a paralysis tick. My paralysis tick is not called Ixodes holocyclus - one of its names is Perfectionism. And it fills me with fear.
I have a desire to write. But I am afraid.
I have a desire to use words to say Something. I am just not sure what. And I am afraid.
What if I have nothing worthwhile to write?
What if nobody likes what I write?
What if somebody disagrees with me?
What if it's not Perfect?
And that's what has been paralysing me. The fear of not being perfect, and knowing that I never can be. Now I must ask One more powerful than I to pluck off the paralysis tick called Perfectionism, because I know I can't do it myself. I think it's going to be a rather long and drawn out process, because I find myself fighting against the One who has the power to remove the parasite. Yet I know I can trust him. He knows I am not perfect, but he chooses to treat my deepest need...
I need a cure. Jesus is the doctor. He cures my paralysis by washing me with his lifeblood.
He's the complete opposite to the paralysis tick. He is the great Saviour. More powerful than my greatest fear.
Friday 15 November 2013
ˈfɔː.tɪ.tjuːd n. courage in pain or adversity.
This is a word that has been relegated to a bygone age and no longer finds a place in the conversations of today. But, I think that Christians today should know what it means, because it is an attribute that should be evident in the character of every child of God. Courage in the face of pain or adversity often reveals itself when we feel the least brave and the most helpless. At these times we must remember that the LORD Almighty has said that it is not by our might or power that we are given the victory – it is by His Spirit (Zech 4:6). “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on [God].” (2 Chr 20:11)
As the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are to “stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Cor 15:55) Sometimes when suffering and adversity come we are overwhelmed and become dismayed that we cannot press forward to overcome… but take heart, it is at these times we must show fortitude. The church with fortitude stands and withstands.