This past weekend marked an annual event celebrated by Brian and endured by the rest of the family: the opening of the cottage. During this yearly event the family heads up north with great anticipation and often some concern of what condition we might find the cottage in, after a cold, harsh winter. It was immediately clear as we drove up the long driveway that part of our opening exercises would involve raking. A lot of raking in fact since the leaves we were prevented from raking due to the early snow fall remained untouched, waiting patiently for us. Now, however, they were wet and heavy, and (I feared), bug infested. Oh the joy of cottaging!
Brian went about his business turning on the water and power – all the good jobs – while the kids and I unlocked the shed to retrieve the rakes. The shed was dark. I waited for my eyes to adjust and then scoped out the location of the rakes. Gratefully they were not that far in. “I could send in a child”, I thought to myself, but then decided to toughen up and get the rakes myself. I put my arm in, felt around quickly and grabbed what I thought was the rake.
“Phew”, I thought. Got it. I moved away from the shed, proud of my accomplishment and began to walk towards the awaiting leaves. As I was walking I noticed something on my sleeve. It was some kind of large bug crawling up my arm. I didn’t stop to scream or jump up and down. I just shook it off. The kids didn’t even know. I watched it tumble to the ground, waited for my heart to regain its normal pattern and then began to rake.
This little event reminded me of Paul in the book of Acts. In chapter 28, Paul and his companions were shipwrecked on the island of Malta. In verse 3 we read that Paul was gathering a pile of brushwood to put on the fire and a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. People around him thought for sure that Paul would become gravely ill, if not die. I felt that way too in my situation ;). But in verse 5 we read that “Paul (simply) shook it off into the fire and suffered no ill effects”.
I know my creepy bug was not the same as a snake, but I hope that if you and I were in the same situation as Paul that we would be bold enough to shake it off!
We have a lot of negative things that fasten themselves to us, much like the snake on Paul’s hand. Temptations, fears, negative thoughts, disappointments of the past, Shake it off! God has a great future planned for you and the dreams of the future have no room for the “snakes” of the past and present. Sometimes the hardest thing to fight is the negative thoughts that we carry and yet it is those very thoughts that hold us in bondage. Shake them off.
Jesus wants to make you whole. He wants to do a new work in us. When we shake them off, we make room for the glorious future that God promises us through his son Jesus Christ. For it is in Him and through Him that we are redeemed.