My husband docked our boat at the marina just as he always does. As avid boaters, we have this routine down to a science. While my daughter and I were in the restroom, Jim made final preparations so we could take off quickly upon our return. One of the last things he usually does is retrieve a comfy chair-pad from the storage compartment under the back seat of the boat. As he lifted the lid of the storage compartment, he jumped back rather quickly. His eyes widened in disbelief and fear spread over his entire face. He announced to me with a quick gasp, “There’s a snake in there!”
At this point, even when I heard the word snake, I was envisioning a small snake. The kind of garter snake we sometimes find on our wooded property. Jim suddenly asked for help from three men docking a boat next to ours. Now most men do not usually ask for help for anything they think they can handle on their own. This was suddenly a red flag to me! If he’s asking for help, this must be a big deal. Everything happened so quickly it was a blur. For a second before all this chaos broke out, I thought I’d grab my phone (which was in the boat) and take a quick picture to capture this moment in time. It didn’t happen.
My husband–along with three other strong men–were struggling to corner this snake in the storage compartment of our boat. The snake continued to slither this way and that way, stubbornly refusing to be caught. Before I knew what was happening, Jim had courageously grabbed that snake by its tail and slung it with all his might into the lake. As he pulled it up out of the boat, this snake was completely stretched out in mid-air. It was no small garter snake by any means.
More than likely a rat snake…..about five feet long!
The strong men who’d at first agreed to help Jim, now quickly shrunk back in fear, almost knocking each other into the water. And of course I contributed my part in all this chaos, letting out a blood-curdling scream.
Why are we so afraid of snakes? Why do these unique creatures stop us in our tracks, leaving us feeling paralyzed?
In the beginning before the fall of mankind, it is speculated that the snake was a beautiful creature. After sin entered the world God said to Satan, “Because you have done this, on your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life.” (Genesis 3:14)
God continues to give more detail about the future effect of snakes on mankind when he says, “I will cause hostility between you and the woman, between your offspring and her offspring.” (Genesis 3:15)
I couldn’t agree more with those profound words because there was much hostility between the humans on the dock and a pesky snake in our boat last week!!
Moses exhibited fear when God miraculously turned his staff into a snake “…so he threw it on the ground and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it.” (Exodus 4:3) Did you catch that? Even though God was right there with him, Moses still fled from the snake! (This verse should be comforting to those three strong men who shrunk back when Jim yanked the snake out of our boat!)
But there is one last scripture I’d like to focus on when it comes to snakes. This one trumps all the other ones I’ve mentioned so far. Isaiah prophesies about what our lives will be like when Christ reigns in Heaven.
Isaiah 11:8 “The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand in the viper’s nest.”
Cobras and Vipers! Really? Can you imagine? An infant playing near a snake–and not just any snake…..a cobra! The thought of a mother watching her child play with a snake is something I just can’t fathom. Playing with a snake as if it were a kitten or puppy.
But that is something as Christ followers we have to look forward to. In God’s perfect kingdom where every creature is restored as it once was in the Garden of Eden. And best of all, God will live among us–face to face. Powerful truth like this gives me a renewed hope. It confirms my faith. It satisfies my soul.
Take comfort in the fact that God dispels all fears and nothing will be feared in Heaven.
(In the meantime, the Preuett family will continue to check their boat carefully for any signs of snakes!!)
1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out all fear…”