7-22-2018 The Parasite


July 22, 2018


I must be one of those individuals who are hypersensitive to swimmer’s itch. During the warmer months (from June through August) I have a constant mild rash and itch from my knees to my ankles. It only occurs during those specific months and seems to be associated with standing knee deep in lake water. I’ve noticed that every time I unload or load the boat the itch renews. I’m also reminded that I experienced it every time I got in the water as a child. Maybe that’s why I’ve never enjoyed swimming that much. So, I began to seek relief.


As I researched the problem I found that swimmer’s itch is caused by a tiny parasite associated with fresh water snails and water fowl. Both are hosts to this little critter as the bird eats the snail and then passes the parasite back into the water to reattach itself again to another snail to be ate again. For our part, God created the human body amazingly resilient and humans are not a good host. Because of that, the parasite only lives a very short time after burrowing into the human skin. Unfortunately, the itch that results comes from the human body’s allergic reaction to this minute foreign invader.


If there is one thing to be thankful for, it’s that I see the itch as God’s early warning system that something is out of place and not normal. For that I praise Him because, even though irritating, there is no lasting harm if acted on and the parasite can’t be passed on by a human to a human. The itch just forces the unfortunate victim discomfort for a short period and Calamine lotion becomes your best friend and your new fragrance.


For me, as someone who fishes a number of times a week, it is an ongoing irritation. I can never get rid of it until the water begins to cool. The solution I discovered made me shake my head. It was so simple…


People who study such things indicate that the parasite remains only if the victim allows the water to remain on the body and drip dry rather than toweling it off. The ironic thing is, I always have towels with me so I can wipe my hands after catching a fish, but I never thought of drying my feet and legs with a towel after launching or loading the boat. Guess who has a new addition to the loading and unloading routine now?


It may also surprise you but God has given us two early warning aides concerning the parasite ‘sin’. Each of these aides warns us when we’re being invaded by something that was never intended to be there in the first place. The first aide is our conscience. No, your conscience is not made up of two little people, one with a pitchfork and horns and the other with a hallo and wings, each one sitting on the opposite shoulder debating potential actions. Your conscience is a God given part of who we are. It’s part of every human, saved and unsaved alike. And, yes, it does debate…


Romans 2:14-16 (NASB)
14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,
16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.


The second aide is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings conviction into our lives when we begin to wade into situations that allow the parasite ‘sin’ to thrive. Unfortunately, because of free will we often tune Him out and suffer the consequences of that choice. Eventually though, God will begin to work in our lives to bring us back into conformance with His will. Sometimes it even a little irritating.


If we resist, the results are like the itch and rash I experience with swimmer’s itch. You see, sin is foreign to the person who knows Jesus as their personal Savior. When the parasite ‘sin’ is allowed into our lives there should be a reaction. It should make us uncomfortable… uncomfortable enough to be reminded that we have been infested by a foreign parasite. So, what do we do… John instructs us in 1 John 1:9 to not allow it to sit and bore in but wipe it away (seek God’s forgiveness… repent and He will cleanse us) and not just hope it goes away on its own. If we ignore it, it only gets worse. God’s Word is clear… there is no choice.

Thank you for your faithfulness. Pastor Larry