I never thought it would happen to my child—my sweet, precious, very clean little girl. So that day, about a year ago, when I looked at her scratching her head and saw a little black gnat in her hair I dismissed it as a result of her rolling around in the grass the day before. When I got a very sweet (almost apologetic) call from the nurse saying that she had a couple of cases of lice in her class and found a nit in her hair during a routine check, I was such a nitwit I did not even know what a “nit” was. She send it home in an envelope with a short note that said “possible nit-(lice egg).” I started freaking out because I couldn’t see anything. The problem was invisible. Only when I was able to get under a good light could I see that my daughter’s head was indeed dotted with about fifty of these little eggs attached to her hair near her scalp. But I didn’t see the bug. Needless to say I left immediately for the drug store—and of course this was the weekend that my sister in law was coming into town with her three sweet precious also very clean (only recently lice-free, themselves) children to visit us in our new, beautiful, clean house—it really was for once. I had scrubbed it from top to bottom that week!
I put the cream on my daughter’s hair, deeply affected—my baby infested. In case you have never gone through this amazing life experience, let me give you the run-down…After rinsing, you go down each section of the hair with a fine-tooth comb and the comb starts catching things you never saw. At the end of the night you get about 150 lice eggs out of your baby’s hair and one actual bug (which means you have found the root of the problem!). And then the fun begins. You bag all stuffed animals and pillows in the house. You wash all the sheets and bed pillows and everything she had worn the days before (including a pick fluffy scarf which quite possibly was the initial culprit). After she is finally in bed and everything gets cleaned up (at 2:30am) you start getting ready for bed, and then…your head starts itching. This accompanying disease should have a name. It was not actually lice (thank God!), it was phantom itching during which I could literally feel something crawling all over my head.
This went on for two weeks. No rhyme or reason except that I do tend to be a little obsessive compulsive about germs. This strangely translates to me never wanting to touch dirty or contaminated things, even to clean them, so my house is not as clean as you would think, my husband switches out our dirty laundry, and I hire someone to deep clean our floors and bathrooms once a month. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity for my sanity.
But here’s the thing, sometimes the source of our anxiety and the source of our emotional and mental distress is well-hidden from us. We feel the itching of an evil, parasitic presence that has latched onto us and oppresses us but we cannot detect where it is exactly or figure out how to get rid of it. Like lice, the source of our struggles hides from the light, but cannot escape it. When we hold our fear, pain and struggles to the light of Jesus, he illuminates their root cause in us in a way that we cannot ignore. He shows us that he knows us—and his knowing us. It is His “seeing of us” and the problems that plague us, that proves his deep, abiding, probing, continuing love for us. He will not let the problem go unchecked as long as we stay in the light.
Read Ephesians 5:13– But everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. (NIV)
Not going to lie, there was a part of me that wanted to pretend the lice were not there, that this was an isolated event of a single gnat laying a single egg on my child’s sweet head. But what would have happened had I ignored the problem and left it in the dark? The problem would have gotten out of control. It would have become an infestation causing even more work later. We had to stop our day, cancel our plans, get under the light and sit and comb out the problem, one little bit (or nit) at a time.
Most of us are familiar with John 3:16 which says God sent Jesus so that all who believe in Him (trust Him) will not die but live forever, but what if we keep reading through verse 21?
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
What this verse imply that Jesus ALSO came into the world to do (verse 20-21)?
Have you ever thought of Jesus coming into the world to “expose” us? He came to show us our sin as much as He came to die for it. When we spiritually encounter Jesus, it is not always a comfortable experience. He is calling us out into truth by His pierced and piercing love. He is inviting us into the light. Do you have some things that need to go under the light? (Hint: Are you trying to hold any part of your life back from His gaze or hoping he doesn’t see it?)
Look at what David wrote in Psalms 139. What does he continually recognize the ability of God to do and ask Him to do? Why was David not afraid of God’s gaze?
Why is it important to practice truth by coming into the light on a regular basis? What does God want to accomplish in you in this process according to John 3:21?
He wants us to live by the truth—the dirty “nitty”-gritty truth (sorry…couldn’t resist). Come into the light so you can be acknowledge His gaze (which is already on you), see your shortcomings, be forgiven and then live in the light of His love and His presence constantly, shining with His glory, which not only benefits God, but us, and everyone around us. A return to Shalom peace—to Eden, where we were meant to walk with God in constant relationship.
Why are you resisting the light shining on these things? If these things are exposed what are you afraid of (having to change, being embarrassed, being out of control, breaking routine)? What is the worst that could happen? Go ahead—name it.
Ready for some more good news…the worst HAS already happened. Humankind as a whole has ignored the light of God’s direction, traded the truth of God for a lie, and we have ALL individually sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Plain and simple. That’s the truth. Nothing new here.
And if you feel like you are not living easy and light, there is a root problem that needs to be addressed and dealt with, because guess what happens if you don’t get ALL the nits out of the hair? That’s right, they hatch and in 6-8 days (uh-huh.) reach maturity and lay MORE eggs. In other words, getting under the light once is not enough…it was an everyday project for weeks, because I needed constant exposure to TRUTH to fix the issue! Ignoring it was NOT an option.
But isn’t it also a relief to know this and to face the truth and stand in the light of it—ALL of us…every single one, have sinned, rejected God’s direction and instead chosen our own way at some point. We have missed the mark! No more excuses. Let’s see it for what it is. We are guilty and we are deserving of punishment for our sin. But that’s not the worst of it. The worst thing is when we try to hide it—when we try to smooth it over as normal and ok and somehow bearable. We pretend our wounds from others who have sinned against us are not there so we can “function” and we live broken, stressed out lives in the dark.
God is not content to leave us there.
What about you, are you living your life right now in the dark or in the light?
Will you except the invitation of Jesus to come into and stay in the light and be exposed so you can finally be free? Think before you answer because it’s going to get harder before it gets easier. The light is illuminating, blinding, and sometimes painful, but it brings healing, hope, and peace. Are you ready to be free?