I’m not anti-vaccination, but I am anti-injection. I hate getting shots. I don’t know anyone who loves it, but most tolerate it with ease. I don’t. I get very anxious and tense up and they hurt like fire. The first time I went to Sub-Saharan Africa (known as the “meningitis belt”), I had to get eight different vaccinations. That was ten years ago. Six of those suckers just expired, so back to the clinic I went. This is the third time in my life I’ve been a pin cushion for international travel. I love to travel so I’d like to say it’s worth it. I will probably say that when my arm stops hurting.

The last time I went to Africa, all precautions were taken and I was offered a new improved anti-malaria drug that didn’t have harsh side effects. Yes please! A few months after my return home, I got very sick. I had a mystery illness that had every specialist scratching their head. I spent six weeks seeking a diagnosis when it was finally determined that I had a rare tick fever. The treatment for it was the old fashioned anti-malaria drug… the one I didn’t take. I can say with certainty that the side effects from that drug were nowhere near as brutal as the tick fever. 

As much as I hate the shots and as inconvenient as the side effects are, I know that I am receiving protection. The diseases they combat are serious and even life threatening. So I’m thankful for my vaccinations. There is protection beyond the pain and I wouldn’t  want to travel without it. The vaccinations remind me of God’s protection from evil. Sometimes it is painful to become protected from the spiritual sickness of sin. It may require the discomfort of giving something up that is hard to walk away from. Sometimes there are side effects. I have held onto unhealthy thoughts or attitudes or behaviors and it hurts. Sometimes we find a shortcut and skip the discomfort only to end up in much worse shape. Old fashioned complete surrender can prevent some pretty nasty heart problems but I sure do steer away from the side effects, and I end up sick.

I’m thankful for my vaccinations that will protect me from illness. I’m thankful for the Word of God and the power of prayer that builds resistance to sin. If you’re battling something that is making you spiritually sick, I challenge you to push through the pain and grow resistance to the sin. I challenge you to old fashioned surrender. You will be well. It may be difficult but you will be well.

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