We are big on going for walks around here. We walk to the pond. We walk to check on the cows. We walk to the mailbox. We walk to visit family.
We also discovered that, apart from the educational value our walks have, this exercise also serves to expend some of the energy from our little ones.
On one such walks, my tottering toddler raced a couple of paces in front of me in one of our neighbor’s yards. I had my then infant strapped to my chest, sweat glistening in the hot sun. I heard Grey ask, “What’s that?” which is not an unusual question for a curious kid.
When I looked ahead to where he was pointing, my glistening turned to glacial fear. A long, black snake was making its way across the lawn directly in the path my baby was on.
Now, I know yall are thinking this is another big fish story and that the snake wasn’t that big. But does it really matter when your kid is headed towards impending danger??
I scooped him up on my back while juggling the infant in her carrier in front.
We made it to safety and had a long talk about sticking close together and keeping an eye out for danger.
Have you ever felt like you didn’t need God? Of course, you didn’t say it like that. But you had a perfect plan, and everything was impeccably controlled. We’ve been there.
Eventually, we started noticing a lot of snakes in our yard. Instead of getting rid of them right away, we decided not to hurt them. We would leave them there and continue on, but we would not mess with the snakes. We took to the motto, you do you and I’ll do me.
The thing is, if you keep hanging around snakes, you begin to hiss and your heart becomes full of poison.
You don’t even really notice it until you see that you’ve molted and the you that once existed, the you that clung to your morals and beliefs, is left rotting in the sun. Even then, it doesn’t matter, because all of the other snakes are doing the things you find yourself now doing. These snakes even praise you for adapting.
The other thing we didn’t know about snakes is that they are not loyal to anyone but themselves. Did you know snakes eat other snakes? They don’t care that you let them into your yard (or workplace or church or bed).
So, we got rid of the snakes. Know how you do that? Cut off the head. It’s not enough to gently place the noose around their necks and put them in a bag to be moved to another location.
The problem was, we had gotten in the habit of slithering. When you are surrounded by serpents, you really don’t even have to slide all the way into the den; if the snakes can get your mind distracted, that’s all it takes. You’ll willingly jump feet first into the pit.
Once you’ve been there a while, it’s difficult to figure out how to shed that old, weighted down skin in order to get back to basics. It’s difficult to learn to stand upright again, knowing people probably still associate you with snakes.
We are not naïve enough to think that we are free from snakes. We know that some other slitherers will show up again. But we know how to wrangle them now. In fact, what we learned is that we don’t even have to do the exterminating.
God fights our battles for us. He told us to go hide under a rock while He tended to it. That’s what shepherds do when protecting their flock. Though we stood on the sidelines bleating, he is the one who shielded us and set us outside of the snake pit.
Though we were bitten, God’s love cut through the poison and served to cauterize the vile parts of our hearts. It opened up a space for us to see Jesus. To seek Him. To serve Him. To start a blog about Him.
Do you feel like you’ve been bitten one too many times? Do you feel like you are stuck with the snakes? You’re not. He will use what has happened to you for good. You’ll see He can repurpose what the snakes meant for harm.
When God showed this Word to me, I didn’t like it. I don’t care for snakes and I don’t like writing in creepy, crawly contexts. But He told me that, in the same way Jesus uses parables throughout his teachings, sometimes we need an earthly symbol to demonstrate a spiritual point. I hope that this word resonates with you and that you can slip away from the snakes in your lives.
2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
Deuteronomy 8:15 “He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint.”
Lamentations 3:22-24 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”