The Second Snake
My younger son is five. He isn’t afraid to pick up anything. Anything. His older brother knows that little brother will pick up and touch anything, so we often hear, “Hey, dude! Come and pick this up!”
I recently ushered my kids out the door into the garage to play. I opened the garage door so they could start pulling out bikes and toys. I went inside to brush my teeth and get some shoes on so I could join them. In the middle of brushing my teeth, my older son came inside yelling about how I had to come outside. “Right now, Mom.” His voice told me he was serious. He talked on: “There’s a snake, Mom. In the garage!”
I went on high-alert. In the garage. A snake. Great.
I brushed my teeth quickly, put on shoes that covered my toes (very important when a snake is nearby, I learned from experience).
I prepared myself mentally. I was going to have to catch another snake. I went through in my head what needed to be done. My heart rate increased. My mind was racing about the steps I was going to take next.
All of that was dissolved the moment I opened the door to the garage.
My five year old stood at the door, holding his arm up, with a snake dangling from his hand.
The mix of emotion was bizarre. Pride mixed with fear mixed with relief.
I was proud of him for doing such a crazy, scary thing. He was never scared. He knew how to handle snakes because he listened and learned from others. He also knew that it was a harmless garter snake. I was proud that he knew such fearlessness and courage.
I had a pang of fear. All of the what-ifs ran through my head in a single moment. What if the snake had been poisonous? What if it had bitten him or his siblings? What if the 2-year old had found it instead?
I largely felt relief. I didn’t have to catch a snake after all. No sneaking through the garage, moving bikes and boxes, trying to locate the slithery creature. I was relieved that the task was done.
How many times in my life do I get myself all worked up about something that needs to be done? Often, I think. I mentally prepare for all that I have to do. I work through every possible situation and outcome in my mind. I get worked up. Then, I open the door to face the situation and God is standing there with it all taken care of. It is done. Relief. I don’t have to do anything. God has it taken care of.
I could break this down into several situations in my life. Those times when I get myself in a tizzy, filled with worry and uncertainty. I’m not sure how someone else will react. I’m not sure how I should handle things. I wonder what needs to be done. I begin to mentally prepare for all of the different outcomes that could ever be possible. It is exhausting.
Deuteronomy 32:4 says, “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.” (NASB) The Message says, “…A God you can depend upon, no exceptions, a straight-arrow God.”
Instead of mentally wearing myself out, I need to just let God do His work. He knows how to handle things. He knows what the poisonous situations look like, and He can handle those too. He knows how to gently handle every single aspect of my life so that it doesn’t bite. The only thing that is required of me is to sit back and let Him handle it.
For those who may be wondering: No snakes were harmed during the making of this story. We did not harm the snake. We took it to the woods and let it go. Just like last time.