I was tired of sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else. It was a helpless feeling. I wanted to help, and it wasn’t fair that I couldn’t. So I decided I would help anyways. Besides, the momma hogs had just had babies, and I wanted to see them.
I hopped down from the bed of my dad’s truck and began climbing up the fence that enclosed our pigs. It was a pretty big pig pen. At least it seemed big to a little boy. It had a little pig barn where they slept and a huge area for rolling around in the mud.
If I was going to be a cowboy, I had to do cowboy stuff, and there was already a herd of pigs out there for me. I scaled the fence and dropped down on the other side. As soon as my boots hit the dirt, my dream of being a cowboy turned into a nightmare. I was instantly thrown down to the ground. I cried for help, but a terrible high-pitched squealing drowned my cries. I couldn’t get up. I was pinned to the ground. The adrenaline was pumping, so I couldn’t feel a lot, but one thing was for sure I was under attack.
One of those seemingly harmless farm animals had charged me from behind, put all her weight on me, and was now biting my back and stomping me with her heavy hooves. I kicked, screamed, and flailed my arms, but it was all useless. I could only lay there as this big momma pig took all of her aggression out on me. I was an easy target for her. I was alone, my back was turned to her, and I was small.
Despite my terror, confusion, and helplessness, I did my best to at least scream for help. Fortunately, puberty was still far off, so I could scream with a high pitch. Unfortunately, my mom, dad, and older sister were all on the other side of the pen, separated from me by a sea of hungry pigs and pits of mud. It was a terrible moment that I wouldn’t easily forget. Death seemed to be knocking on my door as I was relentlessly attacked with no end in sight.
Then suddenly, it was all over. Almost as quickly as it had begun, it just stopped. After all, hope had abandoned me, and I was sure I would die by being eaten alive by a pig. Suddenly, much to my surprise, I was free from this vicious assault.
I scrambled to my feet to see my older sister chasing that old hog off and yelling at it to “get off of him!” Mom and Dad arrived a few seconds later, slowed by the swarm of hungry pigs and rough terrain. They picked me up and carried me back to the safety of the truck bed, where they examined my injuries.
Besides my shattered pride and a spout of crying, my parents determined that I would live. A few bite marks on my back and a bloody elbow. It was a hard lesson, and I learned it firsthand. If you get in the pig pen, you will get muddy.
While sitting in the back of my dad’s truck bed, the pig pen looked fun and exciting. Those hogs didn’t look too big or menacing from where I was sitting. There were no signs of danger or aggression from them while I was outside the fence.
Sin is often like this. When you’re on the outside looking in, it seems like you’re missing out on something fun and exciting. God’s word tells us what sin is and warns us against it. You could say He warns us against rolling around in the mud with the devil, but for some reason, that mud and those pigs look like a lot of fun.
Proverbs 7:21–23 says, “With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.”
When I climbed into that pig pen, I had no idea the kind of danger I was opening myself up to. Sin always looks like no big deal, and we can handle it. It makes us feel like we’re missing out. So we throw caution to the wind, climb into the mud with the pigs, and are shocked when we learn that mud is dirty and pigs are mean.
I love what that Proverb says a little earlier in that same chapter in verses 4 and 5 “Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’ and call insight your intimate friend, to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.” The wisdom of God is like your big sister coming to rescue you from the clutches of sin.
Of course, true wisdom is never getting into the pit in the first place, but thank God for His patient, loving grace. When sin tramples you to the ground and devours your entire life, don’t trust in your strength or wisdom but instead call out to Him in confession. He is faithful to pick us up out of the mud and heal our wounds.
Because of Jesus, we can say confidently, as the Apostle Paul did in 1 Corinthians 15:55–57, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Let us stop tolerating the sin in our lives and walking the edge of the fence. Instead, we should be determined to let sin die so that we might live with Christ. Sometime after that traumatizing day, I woke up to the smell of fresh crackling bacon. I was alive, and that hog was dead.
Trevor Rickard is an Associate Pastor at New Life Christian Fellowship.