{mosimage}It began slowly, a small patch of weed on the edge of the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. Able to double its mass within a few days, the plant, called salvinia molesta, spread rapidly. Villagers along the river began to notice. The weed formed into a thick mat. Within a short time it had clogged access to swamp land where the villagers harvested their staple food. Soon the weed mat was up to a metre thick and they were not able to navigate the river, preventing them from fishing as well as traveling to their markets, schools and medical clinics.

The villagers knew the river was dying. They had no option but to abandon their homes and try to find another sight along the river where the plant had not grown. With two hundred and fifty square miles of infestation, they had a long way to travel. To the people of the Sepik River, the infestation of this plant meant the death of their way of life.

To modern scientists, it was an ecological disaster that affected other areas in many tropical countries. A team of biologists began investigating and eventually they found a solution ? a weevil from South America. Once the weevil was introduced to the areas affected the result was immediate and dramatic. Within a few years the weed was under control. The Sepik River and the way of life of an entire people, was saved. The villages were repopulated and life restored.

The infestation of salvinia molesta has a parallel in our lives. The writer of the Book of James outlined the process ? "... but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." (James 1:14,15)

All it takes is a little weakness, the relinquishing of our will to a desire that is unhealthy. Like the salvinia molesta, once that sin takes root, it will grow until it has clogged the life out of us. We are unable to get to the source of life, unable to reach out for the help we need, unable to live. Our desire to live the way God intends is undermined and spiritual death is surely the only end in sight.

But there is a cure. Like that life-saving weevil that was introduced to the Sepik River, there is a way to clear the waters of our life. No matter how far we have gone, no matter how desperate the sin, we can be restored to health. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1John 1:9)

There is no longer a mat of sludge killing the Sepik River. Is there still one on your soul?

Introduce the cure. It's called repentance.

Marcia Laycock is a pastor's wife and freelance writer living in Alberta Canada.  Her devotional book, The Spur of the Moment has been endorsed by Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and others.  To order, and to view more of Marcia's writing, see her web site - www.vinemarc.com
Copyright Marcia Lee Laycock, 2000, 2001,2002,2003,2004