A Stinging Faith

I was once forward-deployed (to a location I’ll not disclose).  I was sound asleep at two in the morning, when a scorpion crawled into my bed.

He stung me three times in the small of my back before I got him.

It took weeks before I was able to sleep with covers again.  I would panic if the sheet settled against my leg or if a breeze stirred my hair.  I slept curled up in the middle of the mattress, clutching my Bible in one hand and grasping my pillow with the other.

Call me childish, or call me a fool, but I believed holding the Bible would keep the scorpions away.  When you’re in that state of mind, it’s easy to believe in God and miracles.  In combat situations, men grasp the cross around their necks for similar reasons.  Holding something tangible makes the story real.  It gives flesh to an otherwise vacuous narrative.

I think that’s why Jesus came to Earth.  So we could love someone with “skin on.”  So we could grasp the hand of the Divine.

My favorite Bible story is when Peter walked on water.  He lost both his faith and his footing and tumbled into the waves.  But the Christ reached down and caught him!  Imagine that moment, when the hand of God reaches down and grasps Peter.  That one image is frozen in my mind and I think about it often.  It’s a very powerful image.

Without that connection, there is no Christianity.  Peter didn’t use science to walk on water.  He didn’t figure out the nature of molecules.  He wasn’t aware of atomic bonds or hydrogen.  He didn’t reason himself onto those waves.

And when he fell, he didn’t climb out with a syllogism.

He was touched by God.

I know, I know — my Calvinist friends are thinking about covenants and soteriology and would ask me to add all sorts of caveats about the nature and scope of the Incarnation.

But when you’re unable to sleep because you’re afraid of what might crawl into bed with you — you don’t think about systematic theology.  You hold your Bible close and pray for mercy.

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9 Responses to A Stinging Faith

  1. Good word. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Shotgun says:

    Thanks Jonathan.

  3. Shotgun, I figured I should give you some encouragement. I admire your faith and strength in God. May your life be filled with nights free from scorpions *shudders*.

  4. Shotgun says:

    Thanks! I’ve never seen another one since.

  5. Lynne Neal says:

    Good article Shotgun and spot on. Thanks for sharing some good simple truth.

  6. ~MaryBeth~ says:

    Mmm. Wow, that kinda hits home.
    When I was 14, I had gone 10 days and nights straight without sleep. No, not even a 5 minute nap. Every time I went to try to go to sleep, I would hear voices whispering my name and telling me to do things that I didn’t want to do. They all made me want to scream, but they wouldn’t let me make a sound. I tried praying, reading the bible for hours on end, but it didn’t work. One day, my Pastor found out about it and he and a dozen other guys came over to the house and all prayed and fasted over me all day long, and I finally fell asleep that night, and slept 2 whole days without waking up, then I woke up for about a hour or so, then went back to bed and slept another 9 hours.
    For a long time, I couldn’t even close my eyes without someone beside me telling me they would wake me up if I had a nightmare (and I had them). And I have to admit, this was the story that I read a month or so after that and started trusting God to watch over me more than people.

  7. Shotgun says:

    If that ever starts up again, let me know.

  8. Mike says:

    Outstanding story!

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