As I sat next to my daughter at a nail salon one day, my relaxing pedicure was suddenly interrupted by a stabbing pain in my big toe. I laid my magazine aside and looked down at the lady kneeling at my feet. To my horror, she pronounced loudly in broken English, “You have fungus.”
“I have what?”
“Fungus,” she repeated as she held up my foot and shared her discovery with the nail technician three chairs down. Of course, everyone else in the salon heard the news too. It was not my finest moment.
My toe had been hurting for months. In fact, it had been sore since the last pedicure I’d received months earlier in another town. I’d thought perhaps I’d injured it somehow, but now the cause was revealed.
I looked down and was shocked to see nasty green gunk beneath my toenail. I looked at the nail technician and quickly said, “Paint it!”
I didn’t want anyone to see this nasty imperfection, nor did I want to face it. I don’t mind “going green” in the environmental sense, but this going green was not on my agenda.
Within weeks, my toe was really hurting. It was feverishly warm and swollen. Realizing the seriousness of any infection, I knew it was time to deal with my toe. So, off to the internet I went, searching for a quick fungal cure. My husband Tim, honorary doctor, helped me.
The first thing Dr. Tim discovered was that I needed to remove the paint. Reluctantly, I bent over and started wiping off my beautiful red paint. Tim remained brave as the green was exposed.
Next, he told me to blow-dry my toe and then alternate between soaking it in a bowl of Clorox and a bowl of vinegar. If I did this faithfully every day for several months, he said, my toe would be as good as new.
I began following Dr. Tim’s orders, but after many months of treatment, the infection remained. I finally went to a real doctor, who prescribed medicine to fight the infection that was now affecting other areas of my body. This fungus, I learned, couldn’t be cured externally; it had to be treated from the inside. I took that medicine for a year. It was a long journey, but I am now happy to announce that my toe is finally free of both pain and fungus.
I can hear you thinking, “Why in the world would you share this story?” I promise, there’s a lesson in my fungus, and it’s a good one, so stick with me.
When I think about my toe, I remember a little song from when I was a kid in Sunday school. “Oh, be careful, little feet where you go.” Maybe if I had been careful where my feet had gone, I wouldn’t have come home with a fungal infection from a nasty nail salon tub!
I’m also reminded of Galatians 5:9: “A little yeast…spreads through the whole batch of dough.” A little fungal growth had worked its way into my toenail, but ultimately it negatively affected my entire being. My toe throbbed and caused pain with every step I took. Fungal infections took hold in other areas of my body too.
That’s what happens when God’s children don’t carefully guard their thoughts, emotions, words, relationships, habits, or activities. They allow the infection of sin to come into their lives, and before long, it affects every area.
Many things can open the door to infection of the soul. One of them is anger. According to Ephesians 4:26–27, we shouldn’t let the sun go down while we’re still angry, because “anger gives a foothold to the devil.” Staying mad even one day can make a way for destruction to come into our lives. Unforgiveness can adversely affect both our relationships and our health.
We can stay on top of these infections by praying David’s prayer, found in Psalm 139:23–24. “Search me, O God,” he asks. “Know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
David took the time to sit still before God and ask Him to reveal and remove the ugly things in his life so that he could ultimately walk in victory. Just like I couldn’t walk well with that throbbing toe, we don’t live like we should when we allow sin to grow unchecked in our lives.
Unfortunately, when sin is exposed in our lives, we often just look for a quick fix. We want the issue to be gone so we don’t have to be embarrassed or inconvenienced by it. When a quick fix isn’t found, we “paint over” the issue—we try to forget it’s there; we hope it’ll go away on its own and that no one will notice it’s there.
But if we want healing in our lives, we must go to the Great Physician—God. We must put ourselves before Him, listen, and then follow His orders. We can find His prescription—His advice and instruction—in His Word and through the promptings of His Holy Spirit.
Only God’s directives can heal the infections of sin we harbor, because only God can heal us from the inside out.
I’ll warn you—this process will require cooperation and commitment. The process can be painful, lengthy, and humbling as it exposes hidden things and reveals our true selves. But it’s worth it, because in the end, our lives will be beautiful, whole, and victorious.
Once God heals us, it’s our responsibility to protect ourselves from being contaminated again. We must be mindful of where our feet go, where our minds wander, where our eyes gaze, and ears bend. We must guard the words our mouths speak too. We can do this by soaking our lives in alternating “bowls” of prayer, praise, and study of God’s Word.
It’s time to take a seat in God’s chair and allow Him to search you from head to toe. Will you join me in doing as David did and give God permission to expose anything in your life that’s not of Him? Don’t be afraid of the process—anything God reveals is for your good. He has incredible plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11).
Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
God has a race for you to run, and all of heaven is cheering you on. Are you ready? Are your feet in shape? No more stumbling. No more limping in pain. No more hiding the issues. Lay your life open before the Great Physician and be healed and made whole, once and for all. †