Going the Way of the Cactus

Going the Way of the Cactus

Written by Jon Spargo

Proverbs 7:6-9
(6) For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,
(7) And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,
(8) Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,
(9) In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:

I have a lot of fond memories of growing up, but the one I am about to share is not one of them. I was learning how to ride my new red bike for the first time- without training wheels. I am sure many adults remember these moments with a slight sniff and a tear in their eye as they reflect upon their childhood.

Not me. My mom had a cactus.

If you’re guessing there’s a connection between where this story is going and where my little red bike went, you’d be right. To her credit, my mother placed the cactus in the corner of the yard along the fence line thinking, “there’s no way my genius son will get hurt with this cactus if I put it here.”

I sure showed her.

Most of it is a blur, but I recall being unable to stop my bike as it pulled me downhill. Fortunately, at first all I did was hit the fence. Not so fortunately, I then fell over— right into the cactus.

There were so many needles in my clothes that we threw them away. Dad used tweezers and a magnifying glass to pull the hair-like spines from my leg. Needless to say, I remember that part quite well.

Proverbs chapter 7 recounts Solomon watching a young man end up with a “woman of the night.” From his observations, it seems as though the young man didn’t intend to end up with her, he was just ignorant and foolish. In Solomon’s terms, he was “void of understanding.” He then notes the young man passed “near her corner” and “went the way” to her house. And it all happened in the dark of night.

Wrong route. Wrong place. Wrong time. But here’s the rub: he should have known better.

Wrong route. Wrong place. Wrong time. But here’s the rub: he should have known better. It’s almost as if Solomon is looking out his window going “What are you doing? Don’t go that way! LEFT! GO LEFT!”. Sadly, the young man falls into sin, and it wrecks his life.

Every time I read this passage in Proverbs, I remember that cactus and wonder: how often do we open ourselves up to sinful opportunities because we simply aren’t being wise, and get too close? Would it be far easier to live a holy life if we stopped being close to that person, deleted that app, avoided that store, or simply got rid of (fill in the blank)?

Obviously, I hold no ill will toward my mother for owning a cactus. It was my own fault for going near it. You can’t very well fall into a cactus if you’re not near the cactus. And, well, you can’t fall into sin if you’re not near it, either.

Which of our sin struggles are related to us simply being unwise and too close?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *