I did not know what I was anticipating, but Taz was not what I expected. If you ever want to encounter some of the most dangerous, vicious and poisonous creatures in the entire world, they are located in Australia. Dorothy and I were exploring Tasmania when I came face to face with two Tasmanian Devils. They were cute little guys, looking somewhat like small black dogs running at full speed but with no place to go. When one opened his mouth I was glad there was a wall between us. We were at an animal refuge outside of Hobart. When Taz is hungry he will eat anything he can get his teeth into. A small pack of these devils will eat a kangaroo, bones and all, while screaming and biting at the others to stay away. Their favorite food is road kill—the longer dead, the better.

I was expecting a much larger animal. Taz is a marsupial, like the kangaroo, panda and koala. I grew up watching those Looney Tune cartoons of the Tasmanian Devil spinning around in a cloud of dust ready to intimidate anyone. The cartoon Taz is a softy compared to the real deal. Yet the real devils are dying of cancer at an alarming rate. The only ones left are in Tasmania and a few zoos around the world, yet all of them are contracting a facial cancer that is fatal. Scientists are working very hard to isolate a few, hoping to keep them from extinction.

The devils are dying. They appear to be condemned by something scarier than they are. One day I heard a pastor praying at one of our gatherings, only his prayer sort of veered off so he could use a faulty sermon illustration about how sin is the cancer of our lives. I talked with him about it after the meeting. I believe it is wrong to equate sin with cancer. I know what he was trying to say, but it is hard enough for someone to face cancer without us preachers adding the false equation that a person’s sin equals their cancer or that their cancer equals their sin. As mean as they may be, the little Taz devils’ cancer is not their fault. Neither is it anyone else’s.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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