My youngest son, Matthew, was stung by a scorpion.
I hadn’t anticipated finding scorpions in Missouri, but they’re here. They’ve been showing up in our house, so it’s only been a matter of time before one of us felt their wrath. This was only a little scorpion—a little red one. He told me it was no worse than a bee sting. Now, out in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts, they get quite a bit bigger and their sting is far worse.
I only mention this to make a point. Every time one of these critters—wasps, bees, or scorpions—stings it revives the old question, “Why in the world do these things exist?”
The answer is not all that simple. Everything created by God is good, the Scripture tells us (1 Tim. 4:4). But the creation has been subjected to futility (Rom. 8:20). When sin entered the world through Adam’s transgression, death and corruption came as well (Rom. 5:12). As a punishment to man, God cursed the earth and caused it to yield thorns, briars and—I strongly suspect—stingers on insects and arachnids (Gen. 3:17–19). By rebelling against God humanity declared itself God’s enemy. So God made the earth a hostile place for man. No longer would the earth enjoy paradise-like conditions. Now pain, sickness, and death would reign (Rom. 5:14).
But death was actually a merciful option for sinful humanity. For our sin-diseased hearts cannot help but to sin (Gen. 6:3, 5; 8:21). To allow us to go on forever in our sinful, hateful, and hurtful state would destroy our planet. Only the human limitations of sickness and death can slow us down and stop us in our pursuit of self-destruction. And only Christ’s redemptive work—His atoning death and transforming resurrection—can redeem us and the creation (Rom. 6:3–11; 8:18–25).
Remember those stings of insects and arachnids? Well, I read an article that scientists have found another form of venom which promises to bring healing to thousands. The venom comes from the West African tarantula. It contains a peptide called Hm1a. And this peptide stimulates the production of a critical protein in the brain—specifically the NaV1.1 protein. It is the absence of this protein which causes a deadly form of childhood epilepsy, Dravet syndrome. Although considered rare, Dravet Syndrome, still ravages tens of thousands of children. It causes such violent seizures in children that its victims suffer significant developmental issues and death. In laboratory experiments, animals afflicted with this same protein deficiency have been dramatically cured and their seizures have ceased. In the same experiments, those animals left untreated all died from seizures. While tests on humans are still forthcoming, researchers are hopeful of the healing powers of this venom-based drug.
Yes, we live in a sin-afflicted and divinely cursed world. But God’s mercy still abounds. Paul went so far to say, “where sin abounds, there God’s grace abounds much more” (Rom. 5:20). No matter what sins or failures we are guilty of, God can cause them to have a redemptive and saving purpose. Just consider the humanity’s greatest sin of all—the murder of God’s holy Son. That terrible tragedy should have caused God to incinerate this planet. But God turned it into His greatest redemptive act. Sure, our lives are filled with sin, failure, and regret. And we all suffer something from the curse God has placed on this earth. Yet, through it all He causes His grace to triumph and will eventually resurrect us and all of creation through Jesus Christ (Col. 1:15–20).
Dear Lord Jesus, into Your loving and capable hands I commit myself with all my failures and woes. By Your grace divine, redeem me and save me eternally. I embrace You by faith. Amen.
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