Heed the Warning

Man of War Pic 1
Kualoa Regional Park

There’s something special about the blue waters of the State of Hawaii. From the best surfing in the world (board and body) to some of the most beautiful beaches anywhere, Hawaii is a water lover’s paradise.

But this slice of heaven is also fraught with danger. Take for example the crushing waves that toss enthusiastic boogy boarders and body surfers around like rag dolls (sometimes head first causing back and spinal injuries and even death). Consider the pulsating undertow that can take even an experienced swimmer quickly out to sea and literally swallow the swimmer from exhaustion. Or, in the case of my lovely wife Kelli, the lurking danger of floating critters (like the Portuguese Man-Of-War) that come in on the rising tide often landing on and repeatedly stinging any swimmer that happens to be frolicking in the water in its path.

The very beach pictured above was our next stop on a short tour of the beaches on the east side of the island of Oahu. In fact, the very sign pictured was clearly visible when we walked up to the water. I noticed no one was swimming and the three lifeguards were just sitting on the sand shooting the breeze. I decided to sit down on the beach. Kelli and Tim headed into the surf and Tim began to taunt her, “now don’t get stung by the man-of-war.” After just a few minutes Tim became the prophet of the wild kingdom and Kelli began to tell him, “I’m stinging all over my upper body.” He just laughed and brushed it off thinking that she was only saying that in response to his taunting. But she insisted and told him she was getting out. Sure enough, when she came out of the water she had the sphaghetti-like stings across her back, shoulders and arms with part of the animal still clinging to her hair.

Often, we do the same thing with sin. The warning signs from the Word of God, from our conscience, from the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, and even friends and family tell us to stay away from the sting of sin and its consequences. Often we wander on in thinking that “it won’t happen to us” only to find we are left with the obvious impact of our decisions.

The lifeguard told Kelli to go up to the bath house and run the shower on full pressure to rinse away the residue from the sting of the man-of-war. Sure enough, under the pressure of the cold, clear water she immediately began to feel better. There is a remedy for the sting of sin as well – the crimson flow of the blood of Jesus Christ. Heed the warning to stay out of the danger zone, but if you do venture into the ocean of sin, don’t just sit there and suffer. Go to the only lifesaver who can truly wash away sin’s consciousness, condemnation, and consequences.