Okay, here’s one last post about our Myrtle Beach vacation. Indulge me with this one and we’ll move on to other subject matter in days to come.
Last Thursday was our final day of vacationing before we checked out and began the approximately seven-hour drive home. So that day we wanted to give the boys one more opportunity to enjoy the ocean and pool. This had been the first year ever that Royce, our youngest, had enjoyed splashing around in the ocean more than splashing around in the pool. He had even used some of his own money to buy himself a boogie board so that he could ride the waves properly.
Well, for a good while Thursday’s day at the ocean hummed along delightfully just as previous days had done. The boys played in the waves while Tonya and I laid on the beach. Then I joined the boys in the water and Tonya waded in a few minutes later. So there we were, all four Mckinneys splashing around in the ocean, enjoying every minute of it.
But then suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt a brief but intense sting on my arm. A jellyfish had stung me. I didn’t shriek in pain and head for the shore, but it did hurt, about like a bee-sting. Since I had no clue what to do and didn’t want to create a scene from Jaws as millions abandoned the water, I decided to stay in the water and let the salt water disinfect the sting. I found out later that my plan was a good one. The worst thing you can do for a jellyfish sting is pour fresh water on it. That causes the toxins or whatever they are to spread.
After a few minutes, some small whelks raised up on my arm and I began to feel a slight tingling in my fingers. I thought, “If things get any worse, I’m going to get some medical attention.” But, thankfully, that was the worst of it and before long my arm was virtually back to normal except for the small whelks. Event over, right? Not so fast.
About twenty minutes after I got stung, Royce rode an exceptionally large wave all the way into the shallows. But before he even fully emerged from the water, we heard the scream. And he kept screaming as he hurled himself out of the water, ran to our beach blankets, and buried himself in one of them. Honestly, Tonya and I would have feared that he had been bitten by a shark if not for the fact that I had been stung by a jellyfish just a few minutes earlier. So we had a pretty good idea what had happened.
As it turned out, Royce’s sting was much worse than mine. It was as if a jellyfish had wrapped itself around his leg and kept stinging. He had big marks on the inside and outside of his leg and they were already becoming whelks. The poor little fellow, no wonder he had gotten out of that water so fast. I wouldn’t have hung around in there either!
As Tonya raced to comfort Royce, I made my way to our female lifeguard and reported the two stings. She immediately grabbed a spray bottle of vinegar and sprayed down my arm. Then she went over to Royce and did the same for his wounds. By that time he was beginning to calm down somewhat, but he didn’t want any more to do with the ocean for that day. So we gathered up our things and headed for the pool.
Now, here’s the thing that you ought to know about those two jellyfish stings. All week long, as the crew and I had ridden those ocean waves, a warning sign had been posted just next to the lifeguard’s chair along the shoreline. What did that sign warn about? Jellyfish! You see, Royce and I, along with dozens and dozens of others, had been swimming at our own risk all week because jellyfish had been reported in the area and the warning sign had gone up.
And so here is the spiritual application to all this: God’s word, the Bible, is like that warning sign. When your actions go against it, don’t be surprised when you get stung. Oh, you might swim around for a while and get along fine. You might even have some fun and enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. But, ultimately, God will not be mocked and His word will not be ignored without consequence. Jellyfish stings hurt, but those stings are nothing compared to the hurt that we bring upon ourselves by sin. And just as Royce and I could offer no legitimate objection to us getting stung, neither can the sinner who has been warned by God’s word and blatantly ignored it.