There were big doings in my front yard.
My two sons, and several buddies, were huddled in a pack and hyped-up about something in the flowerbed.
What are they doing? I wondered, somewhat distracted, as I glanced up from my computer and threw a quick look out the window.
Nobody was bleeding, nobody was crying. Satisfied, I went back to work.
Minutes later, my office door flung open.
"Mom! We found a snake!"
For sure, that got my attention. I did a quick head-jerk, just in time to see a stick being thrust towards me-with said snake dangling from the end.
"Here!" my oldest son shouted. "TAKE IT!"
You know what the Bible says about the Lord putting enmity between the woman and the serpent? (Genesis 3:14) Not that I doubted it's truth, but coming inches from a forked tongue sure confirmed it.
My office turned into a circus, with me starring as the human cannonball, blasting from my chair as though catapulted by dynamite. Acrobatics-ones I didn't know I was capable of-sent me feet-first onto the couch, where I grabbed a lamp and held it like a lion tamer guards himself with a chair. My arm cutting the air like a whip, I yelled:
"GET THE SNAKE OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
"But Mom-he's just a garden snake!"
"GET THE JUST A GARDEN SNAKE OUT OF MY HOUSE!" I jumped off the couch and faced my youngest son, St. Daniel-rescuer/protector of yucky things that breathe. "And NO-you can't keep him."
Returning to my computer, I knew the Lord would turn this snaky encounter into an article. And he did, by leading me way down Memory Lane, to the time a friend agreed to take in his neighbor's pet for two weeks.
This "pet" was a Boa Constrictor. His name was Woody.
"So, how's it going?" I asked my friend after a few days of Woody-watching.
"Okay," he said, "now that I've gotten past the fact that he's a snake."
I remember shuddering as though skinny-dipping in Iceland. "How'd you get past THAT?"
"I just noticed that his markings are really beautiful, and his skin is smoother than I expected."
"But doesn't he creep you out?"
"Not really," my friend said. "He just slithers around and checks things out, then rubs against my leg like a cat." He fell thoughtful for a minute, then continued, "I'm not crazy about snakes but...they're misunderstood."
Then again...maybe not.
My friend changed his mind several nights later, when he came home and Woody LUNGED at him from a corner. Who knows what got under that snake's skin, but all eight, beautiful, smooth feet of him came at my friend, full squeeze ahead.
The attempted assault got Woody jailed- stuffed into a pillowcase and locked in the hall closet.
"Let his owner deal with him," my friend said. "I'm not opening that closet until he's back in town."
When I think of my friend's snake-sitting experience, I see lots of correlation between it and the way satan operates. Of course, as Christians, satan can't have us, (Romans 8:38-39) but he sure tries to infest and wreck our lives.
Just as Woody's outer shell wasn't so bad, neither is satan's. In 2 Corinthians 11:14 we're told that "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." The Bible calls him crafty and speaks of his schemes, which is how he weaves his way into people's lives. Once in, he's able to do what Jesus warned of: "to steal and kill and destroy." (John 10: 10)
I've heard that snakes attack because they feel threatened. That, too, sounds like satan because Christians ARE a threat to him- to his power, his plans and his final headcount in hell. That's why he's got it out for us.
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (I Peter 5:8, NIV)
In his book, The Complete Who's Who in the Bible,1 Paul D. Gardner, Minister and Area Dean in the Church of England in Cheshire, writes about the Christian's defense against satan: "On many occasions the New Testament warns believers that they should defend themselves against Satan. The fact that during the temptation in the desert Jesus answered Satan three times with the words, 'It is written...' (Matthew 4: 4, 7, 10) shows the way forward for Christians. Christ used scripture (the Word of God) as the ultimate defense against Satan."
Paul called it the full armor of God, and wrote in Ephesians 6:11, "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." (NIV) He then describes what we should wear into battle.
"Stand firm, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted for the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6: 14-17, NIV)
Clearly, scripture makes for some serious snake repellant. Let's learn it and live it!
General George S. Patton once said, "I always believe in being prepared, even when I'm dressed in white tie and tails." Patton knew his enemies were lurking-and so is satan, who is always trying to catch us with our guard down. In Ephesians 4:27, we're advised, "do not give the devil a foothold." (NIV) Though Paul was speaking about not allowing anger to cause us to sin, anything-doubt, pride, fear, worry, jealously, you name it-can be just the foothold Satan needs to hoist himself right up into our daily lives.
The Word of God-that mighty sword of the Spirit-is our preparation and our weapon. It also assures us that satan's days on the battlefield are limited.
I don't know how Woody's owner dealt with him, but I do know how God will deal with the snake of all snakes. Revelation 20:10 fortells his doom: "And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (NIV)
That day will come, but for now-we need to stock up on repellant and douse ourselves in it.
Oh, and remind our children never to pick up snakes, even "just" the garden variety.
After all, that snake in the Garden of Eden didn't look too harmful either.
(c)Donna G. Morton, September 2005
1 Zondervan Publishing House, 1995
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