Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jiggers are to a Foot what Sin is to a Soul

In Africa, and many subtropical areas of the world, there is a miniscule monster that causes immense pain and can even lead to death if left untreated. I've never suffered from it personally, but have met those who have and read much about it. Jiggers cause much pain and it all begins in the sole of a foot.

All over the world, even on Mockingbird Road, there is a miniscule monster that causes immense pain and can certainly lead to death if left untreated. I have suffered from it personally, and i've met others who have as well. I've read much about it and studied endlessly the effects of this killer that can grow quickly and overtake a life. Sin causes much pain and it all begins in the soul of a person.

Jiggers are to the foot what sin is to the soul.
They attack silently.
They embed themselves head first and begin feeding on the lifeblood of their host.
They stay in place, head first, feeding and defecating; draining life and producing stench.
Their presence causes a large blister to form that produces pain and can eventually debilitate their host.
In time, they produce eggs, dozens of them, eggs that hatch and dig in as well. Draining more life, causing more pain, producing ultimate death to the one they have chosen to cling to.
The death comes very slowly. It's very painful. It's completely unnecessary, can easily be treated, but out of ignorance and lack, many will die.
They carry with them a stigma. Other people don't care to be around a jigger infested foot or a sin infested soul. It's uncomfortable to see the pain, some people are afraid they might catch the killing parasite.
It's a tragedy.

A little about jiggers. They come from the tiniest flea, sometimes called the sand flea. When it's time to reproduce, the female flea will attach to the nearest warm blooded mammal she can find. She just needs an available soft place to bite and then burrow herself head first into. She's looking for blood. So in Africa, the soles of human feet, not covered by shoes, are seemingly her first choice. The initial bite and burrowing is actually not that painful at all, just a bit irritating. The burrowing in is not even very noticeable to the unwilling host. But during the next couple of weeks, as the parasitic flea feeds off blood, she grows a blister around her that usually causes much pain. The backside of the flea is still able to be seen, it's just a tiny dark spot in the middle of the blister. Through her "bottom" she breathes and defecates. It's all so tiny, it almost invisible to the eye, but those with trained eyes know exactly what it looks like and the pain it causes. One female sand flea, or Chigoe Flea, can produce literally dozens of eggs. They fall to the ground to hatch. Then the dozens of tiny fleas look for the nearest warm blooded mammal to bite and move in on. And you guessed it, they usually find the same host their parent still resides within.
One jigger isn't a big deal. It's irritating and a bit uncomfortable, but not life threatening at all. However, one leads to many in a short amount of time. When the many attach themselves, the host begins having trouble walking because of the intense pain. After another cycle or two, which doesn't take long, the host mammal is held to the ground because walking becomes an impossibility. Since hundreds and millions of eggs are now hatching on that same ground ---- the soles of the feet are not the only things now sought after by the tiny monster fleas. They don't care about  the host ---- they are only looking for blood. Life giving blood.

Shift with me now to the parallel our Lord gives us in the lessons we can learn from the horrific Chigoe flea. Not fun --- i agree --- but necessary.

Life is hard in this world.
Our Savior is the One who made it very clear to us, that because of sin, because of the fall of man way back in Eden, life would be very hard this side of Heaven.
But our Abba meets us and walks with us in this hard place. He does not leave us alone to deal with the life draining moments. He comes to us as our Shepherd, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Healer, our Comforter. We need Him to be all that He is to us, because we are in a world filled with Chigoe fleas looking to drain life.

The Chigoe flea is a visible example in the physical realm of exactly what happens to us in the spiritual realm when we allow sin to reside.
Not a fun topic --- not an encouraging post --- but hang with me ---- because it does get better.
First though ---- let's be real --- let's dig deep --- and then let's encourage each other as we see God's mighty response to the soul fleas looking to steal, kill, and destroy His children.

When i was little, growing up in my wonderful little country church, i believed salvation was what i needed, and then God would take care of everything. In a way, a childlike way, i was correct. We do need God's salvation, we NEED His presence in us. We want Heaven for eternity after we breathe our last air here. And truly, God can take care of everything when He is Lord of our lives ---- BUT --- and it's a big BUT ---- He empowers us to take care of much with His hand upon us.
He is not a room service, santa claus, magician who can give us what we want when we finally realize what we need. Instead, God is in the business of transforming us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus. To become transformed it will take the grace of God and intentional work on our part. Becoming a Christian does not mean we are immune to sin. Far from it. Christians do not receive a special "vaccine" that keeps them from "catching" the effects of sin in their lives. Christians are just as susceptible to the effects and pain of sin as everyone else. The only difference (in a world of sin with an active deceiver) between a Christian and a non-believer, is the fact that the Christian has the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit inside giving truth and guidance, and power for the battle against sin if we will pull our sword and fight. The most pitiful Christians i know are those who sit with parasitic sins draining the life blood from them and wallowing in the misery they claim is their "cross". That is NOT the way our Savior leads ---- that is the way the deceiver lies.

Jiggers to the soles of an exposed foot are very much like sins to the soul of a person (Christian or not).

God's Word teaches us what is sin and what is not. God doesn't want us to be overly sin-conscious -- He wants us to be beautifully God-conscious. So when we pick up His Holy Bible -- we should dig in to it looking for Him, watching for how He is leading us, becoming aware of what brings blessings and what brings death (spiritual). We want to read His Word --- because we know there are sin jiggers that will appear as tiny, miniscule, unimportant dots on our soul if we are not on guard and attentive. We want to follow HIM ---- not a list of rules. We want to move when our Father guides us to move, obey in the ways He will guide us, step away from something when He says to leave it alone because He knows it will infest and destroy us. We want to cling to HIS Robes and listen to His whispers to our soul. Because He is the One who loves us most and will carry us through this sometimes painful place. In following Him, He will work to make us aware of the dangerous tiny monsters that will drain us of life if we allow them to attach to us --- not because of a list of rules to follow ---- but much better -- because of a loving, guiding hand giving us gentle but solid direction.
When i was a young Christian ---- i was a rule follower.
As an adult daughter now ---- i am an Abba follower.
When i was a young Christian i would be startled and disheartened when i faced a sin in my life. I would claim that my Savior had paid for that sin -- and that was/is very true. But i was deeply disappointed in myself, that i had allowed sin to slide in --- i had failed in following ALL the rules. That is called living under the law...
But as a daughter of my Savior --- i now search for -- anything present in my that is not in line with the way my Father leads me. I read His Word to know Him more and then step by step lay down what needs to be stepped away from and pick up what needs to be embraced for the transformation to flow from who i was to who HE saw all along. It's a walk --- a journey --- a joy that can be found this side of Heaven --- for every one who reaches for His Robes.

I'm reminding myself this week...
Last week, my dear Steve and i found "jiggers" working to dig in to our home. Nothing dramatic or news worthy at all. Just tiny ugliness that if allowed to remain would have drained life and produced ugly death.
Jiggers to the soul can look like ----- jealousy or pride or self or fear ----- or lust or envy or self-promotion or self-hatred ---- or rejection or arrogance or anger or hatred ----- or gluttony or waste or laziness or dishonesty...
Oh how we NEED God's WORD to help us stay attentive to and diligent against all the many types of "jiggers" that can infest a soul.

God knows we need Him ----- and He is always there for us. We don't have to take a number or try and perform to get His attention. Just a simple --- Dear God... opens the door to sit with our Abba.

To get rid of jiggers --- they need to be dug out, the skin needs to be washed with special antiseptic, and ointments, and kept clean. Then the person needs to wear shoes --- so re-infestation is prevented.

Isn't it true with our soul jiggers as well --- those sins need to be dug out (faced, confessed, take responsibility for them, and carry them to God with repentance over them -- remembering that "repent" means- to turn from), then the soul needs to be washed (Christ provided His blood as the special antiseptic), rubbed with ointment ( Psalm 23:5b "He anoints my head with oil"), and kept clean (that's our choice --- we can choose God and His ways  -- we are so blessed to have a choice). Then we need to cover our souls, so re-infestation is prevented --- that's the clinging to His Robes with the reading, taking in, digesting, and living out of HIS WORD.

Steve and i just dug some ugly nastys out ---- actually God dug them out --- when we asked Him to. We are no different than anyone else. Except maybe that we are willing to admit something needed to be removed -- dug out -- painfully --- laid at the foot of the Cross --- and abandoned there.
We're not in Heaven yet ---- you're not either my friend.
So don't be afraid to take out that magnifying glass and dig out what needs to GO.
God will meet you in that moment ---- and you'll see Him as the Redeemer and Healer.

I pray God will use Steve and i in Kenya to help remove jiggers from tiny feet that are suffering ---- and sins from souls in pain.
Please pray for us.


1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. 

Psalm 23

(no photos this week --- jiggers are not a pretty sight...)


©2012 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe

3 comments:

  1. this visual is very powerful, and makes the reality of the enemy's efforts to destroy more visceral too. i want to be aware of, not numb to, the jiggers digging into my soul. thanks for painting the picture...

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  2. Wow, this is a powerful post.
    Thank you for taking the time to write it.
    The comparison to the soul is a great one.

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