My Bravery (& Faith) Came To A Breathtaking Stop
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength… all things except kill a rattlesnake.
However, if I’m honest, I probably could have killed that snake if I had really needed to. Or if I would have stopped long enough to pray about it and look to God for strength.
But I didn’t.
Let’s go back to the beginning…
Here’s What Happened
Friday morning, I went out back to sit at my picnic table to read my Bible. It was a little colder than I normally would have liked for reading outside, but we had gotten a notice that our power would be out for a few hours, so they could do some work on the lines. Thus, I decided to head out anyways.
I set my Bible on the picnic table and turned around to go back in the house for my cup of coffee. And that’s when I saw it… A baby rattlesnake.
It was curled up on the bricks right outside my back door, and I had walked right past it. Worse yet, it was blocking my way back into the house. Thus, I did what any sane person would do… I jumped onto the picnic table.I can do all things through Christ… well… almost. Click To Tweet
I Had To Make A Decision
So, there I was, standing on my picnic table, staring at this snake, recalling the rattlesnake presentation I had watched last year around this time: Baby snakes are the most dangerous. What I couldn’t recall was if rattlesnakes had more than one baby, or if they traveled in packs. I was pretty sure they did, and lots of eggs meant lots of babies.
Thus, I stood there on my picnic table scanning the yard. I had left my phone in the house, so I couldn’t call for help. And I knew I had a decision to make:
To stay on that table until my husband got home from work or the snake slithered away, or to summon the courage to get off the table.
As I didn’t really want the snake to get away, and I had to pick our kids up from school before my husband got home, neither of those were viable options. Which meant I had to get down. But I couldn’t go through the back door, so I had to go all the way around the house.
I made my way, quickly but carefully, carrying my Bible. I was sure God was the only reason the snake hadn’t bit me on the way out the door, and I wasn’t about to abandon my Bible on the picnic table. Who knew when it would be safe to return?
Time For Action
Once inside, I got my phone, opened the back door so I could see the snake through the glass door, and snapped a photo. Maybe it wasn’t a rattlesnake. Maybe it just looked like one. I thought.
I sent the photo to my husband with a dramatic, but short, explanation of what had occurred.
So, I did what anyone in today’s day and age would do: I posted the photo on Facebook asking for conformation that it was a rattlesnake and asking for volunteers to come kill it.
Rattlesnake confirmed, no volunteers.
I called my husband to see if he got my text. He hadn’t.
He would check and get back to me.
In the meantime, one of my best friends called to let me know they saw the photo on Facebook. Yes, it was a rattlesnake and I needed to kill it. I laughed, that was not happening.
Next suggestion: call our pastor, he could take care of it for me. That was something I could do…
Before I called our pastor, my husband called back and also confirmed it was a Diamondback Rattlesnake and I either needed to kill it or get help, we couldn’t let it get away. He said one of our neighbors had caught/killed two this year and could probably help. So, before bothering our pastor, I walked down to my neighbor’s home to see if he could help.
He wasn’t, so calling the pastor it was.
I sent him a text and he said he would be right over.
I went out front with my Bible to wait. If I couldn’t read in the backyard, and it was too dark in the house, I might as well read out front. Of course, I was too on edge to actually read anything. Every noise made me jump.
Was That Snake My Biggest Problem?
Thankfully my pastor arrived quickly and killed the snake. He also checked the backyard to make sure there weren’t anymore, and that there was no sign of a den. The fence along the back of our yard leads down to a river, so we decided he must have come up from there. Crisis averted.
But once my pastor left, and I had finished my Bible reading, I was still unsettled. That’s when Philippians 4:13 popped into my head. That rattlesnake had crippled me with fear, and I didn’t look to Jesus for strength. The thought to pray for wisdom or strength hadn’t even occurred to me.
One little snake had completely devastated my time with Jesus that morning. Even when I sat down with my Bible, I didn’t get very much out of it.
I had joked with my friends on Facebook about my lack of bravery, but afterwards I wondered if it was really a laughing matter. Yes, rattlesnakes are dangerous, and I still believe calling for help was the right thing to do. But I shouldn’t have allowed it to shake me to my core.
When I was standing on that picnic table holding my Bible and thinking that God had gotten me past it once safely, I should have looked to Him for a solution.
I’m not saying this to beat myself up, but this experience was a window to my soul. I never imagined God would use a baby rattlesnake to draw me closer to Him, but that’s just what He did.She never imagined God would use a baby rattlesnake to draw her closer to Him, but that's just what He did… Click To Tweet
I Can Do All Things Through Christ
While my quiet time was ruined, once I calmed down and started thinking rationally, I was driven to repentance. I remembered how fear used to point me to Jesus, and wondered what had happened. And then I remembered the gospel.
Jesus came to Earth to live a perfect life and die a perfect death, because He knew we couldn’t. He knew we would stumble. But because of Him we are forgiven. We don’t have to live ashamed. And even when forget that I forget that I can do all things through Christ, He is with me. That’s just part of the beauty of the gospel.
God has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength, but when we forget that, God is still with us. And I, for one, am ever so thankful for that.
What About You?
Have you ever let fear cripple you? I am not good with any reptiles, insects, or rodents, but snakes are the worst. But I am hoping that from this point forward I will remember to slow down and pray.
What are you afraid of? Is there something that helps you overcome your fears? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Oh, Heather! What a story. I normally love snakes and reptiles but having had a really close call with a diamondback myself, even for me there are exceptions… I find the area where I most often get stunned into temporary blindness to the fact that I can count on God is fears for my children. Something will happen and I will begin to entertain ideas about how this event or circumstance will manifest itself in their futures in negative ways. Whether it is health concerns, character traits I see creeping in that I think could cause them problems, whatever it is, I find my thoughts going crazy with worry and “what ifs.” The only thing that helps is turning those fears into prayers – repenting of the sin of worry, then praising God for being all-powerful, and finally lifting up my concerns for my kids to him in prayer. I think I’m getting better at recognizing the out of control thoughts sooner, but it is still a huge struggle for me!
I love that it’s never too late to turn our worries and fears over to Jesus!
If only Eve had the same reaction when she saw the serpent… Genesis 3.
Bahahaha – that’s awesome. If only.
Oh my! I really really don’t like snakes. I would have been freaking out very much! I’m sad to say that I also probably wouldn’t have used the time on the picnic table to pray.
Hindsight is 20/20. I honestly don’t know what I will do if it ever happens again, but I’m thankful God brought it to my attention.
I would not have been able to kill it either. Just the thought of it sends me practically into a seizure, lol.
Right? I still get shivers thinking about it (and might be a little leery of my back yard…)
The week that ended almost threw me into confusion,when I Iearned that a village in our local government has been attacked by Fulani herdsmen ,and people killed. I became afraid lest crises may erupt the city, but God gave me Psalms 91 and I was encouraged.
It is easy for us to be afraid when we are confronted with danger,but as children of God,the Holy Spirit always come to our aid.
Thank God for delivering you.
Yes! I love that God never abandons us, even when we take our eyes off Him (even if just for a moment).
I would have done the same thing as you! I am terrified of anything like bugs, snakes, and spiders. Thanks for the reminder about fighting fear though…. and I love Angie Smith’s What Women Fear book… it was legit life changing for me.
Me too, Jessica! That is such an amazing book.
Beautiful story and love the way you have connected it with a spiritual aspect.
I would have reacted the same way to a rattlesnake! They are terrifying. It’s funny how a small encounter with a reptile can be representative of all of our issues with fear. Thank you for turning your experience into a reminder to lay our fears down.
Being caught off guard is truly illuminating, isn’t it, Emily?