July 2, 2007

Wood Tick Wisdom

It’s wood tick season in Wisconsin, a yucky fact we discovered during our otherwise wonderful northwoods vacation. We did not anticipate the onslaught.

One appeared on me the first day; I merely brushed it aside as a curiosity. Then over the next few days these very sociable critters “blessed” us with multiple visits. But we caught each before it got its hooks into us. And we got very good at doing “tick checks” several times a day.

Then we had a couple days’ reprieve and got complacent. On our last evening, Rachel ran to me, declaring, “I got a goose egg.” I felt the back of her head—just a small, pointy bump. She was unfazed so, thinking she’d merely slid off a swing, I said, “I’ll check it later.” Off she scurried, none the worse for wear.

At sunset, we headed back to our cabin. I’d forgotten about the goose egg. But suddenly I was convicted in the core of my being: “Check her again. Right now.”

So, much to Rachel’s chagrin, I felt all over until I found the bump, then pushed aside her blond locks to reveal—yep!—a fat, brown wood tick. Already starting to burrow into her skin on its way to a parasite’s haven.

Even in my panic (and Rachel’s), I had the wherewithal to pull gently. Some of Rachel’s skin came along, but eventually the tick disengaged. And then, as much for my benefit as Rachel’s, I pummeled it to death with our hairbrush!

What’s the point?

It’s that—this time—I chose to listen to that small warning “voice” within me. Not audible, but a type of voice nonetheless. The voice we sometimes innocuously call “conscience.” The voice we should truthfully acknowledge as God, speaking to us in our spirits through His Spirit.

I’m thankful I heard and listened. I’m thankful that, for her faith, I said to Rachel, “God told me to check your head, honey.” But I also recall many situations when I’ve heard and ignored. And I grieve knowing that I very often have been too busy to even hear His “still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-13, NKJ).

The relaxation of vacation made it easier for me to hear. But I can—and should—endeavor to pay attention even in “real life.” He’s always communicating with us: in the Word, through godly counsel, and (when it doesn’t contradict Scripture) as the “conscience.” What have you heard today? Will you listen?


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