My little daughter let our puppy out for what seemed like that thousandth time and also what’s be coming more of the regular routine, thankfully! Potty-training a dog is never much fun, but I’ll take many trips outdoors over cleaning up puddles on the floor inside any day!
A typical outing with the new puppy includes sniffs, perhaps a little cat chase, and then the business— which is ultimately the reason we ventured out in the first place. However this particular outing proved to be a little more adventurous than normal.
I could tell there was panic in my girl’s voice when she beckoned for me from the front patio…
At first I thought the worst, perhaps the dog had trailed onto the road and been run over and my husband and I would be consoling three sobbing children over a dirt-pile and dried flowers in the backyard for the next several months. But when I approached the door my daughter’s face resembled fear more so than sorrowful discontent.
Apprehensively, I peered outside to where her eyes were locked and there they were— a baby snake, tiny lizard, and another baby snake— in that order, all within a three-foot area and strewn across my sidewalk leading to my lovely patio where my daughter and I now both stood side-by-side, perplexed by what we were seeing.
We live in the country and have for years now, so a snake in my yard from time to time is nothing new to me, but that doesn’t mean I want to get used to it or welcome them into my proximity either.
Now for whatever reason it looked like we had just involuntarily opened a reptile park without any former provision. For a moment my mind went blank as I contemplated how to properly handle this situation while my daughter scooped the puppy safely up into her arms.
Then I did what any damsel in distress would do; I hollered for my knight in shining armor (my 7-year-old son). Surely he could get us out of this ‘scaly’ mess. And there he came— barreling out of the house, ready to arm himself with rocks so he could ‘fight off the bad guys’. The lizard I was okay with, but the snakes are absolutely unacceptable, especially when there’s double-trouble. There’s a reason why Satan was doomed as a serpent, (groveling in the dust) back in the Garden of Eden during the fall of man—they’re creepy looking!
I quickly explained to my boy that ‘rocks were not going to be a reliable option in what I hoped would become a merciless snake massacre’. We would need to more heavily equip ourselves. Sneakily I crept past enemy lines and headed straight for the tool shed where I gathered some shovels and passed one off to my brave young warrior.
From there we just began swinging, smacking, and jabbing the ground where these defenseless snakes squirmed about uncannily. Afterwards it looked like a reptile apocalypse as opposed to a featured reptile park and more like one hundred snakes had been present rather than just a couple: blood, guts, and all—you can’t make this stuff up.
And somehow in the melee, the somewhat adorable-looking baby lizard fortunately escaped…and in my defense those small snakes certainly resembled that of a rattlesnake!
In Genesis 3 we read God’s first recorded conversation with the serpent (Satan). In this chapter, verse 15 reads, “and I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
When I look at this verse in a basic sense it reminds me of my experience with the snakes, but when the verse is viewed in context it has such a bigger meaning. “He will strike your head” pointed to the future, signifying Christ’s miraculous triumph over Satan when he rose from death (John 20). “A strike to the head” from Jesus proved to be more powerful than Satan’s ‘strike at Jesus’ heel’. It’s through Christ’s accomplishment of the cross and resurrection that we are given the opportunity of salvation.
Fighting the snakes isn’t something I want to do everyday, but as I reflect on that event I realize how symbolic it is of my everyday life. We’re all fighting “snakes” as we face Satan’s evil ways— whether it’s battling temptation, a lack of self-control, heartache, anger issues, or a number of other negatives.
Praise God that we can overcome these obstacles when we choose to let him rule our lives. We can resist the toxin (sin) from the “snake-bite” (Satan’s attempt) by allowing Jesus to be our anti-venom. Although mine and my kids’ story is sure to make for a good laugh for years to come, it’s nothing compared to Christ’s 2000 year-old story of victory over the real snake (Satan).