So, I have found a 3' x 3' wireless *hot spot* in my backyard.
It's situated on a park bench (left behind by the previous owners), next to some boulders, at the edge of a steep drop-off into a ravine. (Evidently, though I am not soaring on wings like eagles, I am expected to sit in one of their aerie nests…)
For the record, I am still trying to figure out the subconscious reasons that I am procrastinating on getting regular internet service up here. That could be a blog post (or twenty) in itself.
But I digress.
Back to my miracle telecommunications oasis.
It's far short of perfect. It offers a very weak signal that is notorious in its fickle reliability. Add to that, the download time is even slower than when I was on dial-up. And, I only get short blocks of time when it even works at all.
But, until I figure out what the deal is with my inability to stop stalling on this internet hook-up issue, this service will suffice.
So, last week I'm sitting on the park bench, checking emails and online banking as quickly (HA!) as I can before I lose service.
The day is gorgeous – beautiful cloudless blue skies, a warm breeze.
All of a sudden, I hear this weird sound.
I can't quite tell what it is – maybe air leaking, or maybe water.
At first I think of the irrigation system the previous owner set up. There is a labyrinth of black tubing surrounding our whole house. Some is for outdoor lighting (which doesn't seem to work) – and some is for those drip-like watering systems.
I'm thinking it's the water – and here ensues my little internal dialogue:
"Why would "The Hub" turn on the water in the middle of the day? Or maybe it was on a timer like a regular sprinkler system, and we just haven't noticed that yet because we haven't been outside at the time it went on. Huh, that's kinda strange, though. You'd think that we would have noticed that by now. How odd…"
All this takes place as I turn around to see where the sound is coming from, as it sounds close by.
As I turn around, my frontal cortex (I think that’s the part of the brain that reacts by instinct) registers a sight that immediately triggers a huge "flight-or-fight" response in my body.
There, rearing back and hissing like an angry steam engine, is a giant snake – only about six inches away from my bare legs and flip-flop feet.
Poised to strike…
I get up quickly (understatement), while trying at the same time not to move so fast that I set this thing off. Otherwise, it would probably bite me like a million times (hyperbole).
The problem is, I'm at the edge of a ravine. There aren't many places to go.
Heart racing, I scoot out on a boulder, while trying not to drop my laptop.
Do you know that that snake starting crawling its way TOWARDS me???
Nowhere to go, feeling trapped, I prayed.
Finally, that stupid hissing snake wandered off into the bushes.
I ran into the house faster than you can say "I could've died." (I know, because that's what I was chanting as I ran).
I ran all over, trying to find "The Hub" – finally locating him in the garage. I tried desperately to get out what had happened, though I was shaking so bad I could hardly speak.
Remember that old rattlesnake that "The Hub" caught a couple of weeks ago – you know, the one that subsequently found a way to crawl out of its garbage can prison? Well, I was sure that I had barely escaped its fangs.
However, "The Hub" is a bit of a herpetologist - (an expert on reptiles).
After much discussion, we determined that I had had a rather frightening encounter with a ticked-off gopher snake, not the dreaded rattlesnake.
FYI – some gopher snakes look very much like desert rattlesnakes. However, they hiss instead of rattle. And, rattlesnakes in the mountains are much darker than other rattlesnakes.
Certainly not my frontal cortex.
It literally took me hours to calm down.
And then I started thinking about the spiritual lesson in all this – Ah yes, it got me pondering about that dirty old serpent enemy of ours.
You know, ever since I found out that we have rattlesnakes up here, when I'm outside, I walk with my head down. I carefully watch where my feet are going, and I'm really on alert…
I try to be that way in my spiritual life, too.
I know that the enemy is out there, seeking to devour (or bite, as the case may be). I know he's dangerous, treacherous, without sympathy. He is a predator. And he would enjoy nothing more than to strike me with his poison.
So, I watch.
But, here's the thing about him.
He's very, very sneaky. He likes to lurk. He likes to hide. He likes to strike just when you think you're safe.
Before I sat down that day on the park bench, I really checked out my surroundings. Everything looked fine. However, I didn't count on those boulders being the perfect hide-out for a threat.
That's how the devil works, too.
He's a threat when we're looking for him, and he's a threat when we're not.
But here’s the other thing about him.
Though he likes to disguise himself as a rattlesnake, he's really only a gopher snake. He can hiss and coil and threaten all he wants. He can even bite me, but I won't die.
He isn't deadly.
You see, there was this cosmic "de-fanging" that took place at Calvary. Satan lost his venom.
We all do well to remember this.
Yes, the devil is threatening. He is not without danger. He can hurt us, he can scare us. And he's after us, indeed. So it's important to constantly be on the alert.
But we must never, ever forget – he is not deadly.
On this earth, we walk a serpentine path – there are twists and turns on the way. Unanticipated bends. Confusing forks in the road. A wily old snake who's waiting and watching for us.
But we must never lose sight of the fact that we are also walking on the Narrow Way. The sure way – the one lit up with the Lamp unto our feet, and the Light unto our path.
And we will surely arrive home…safely.
"Then the LORD God said to the serpent…'He will strike your head…'" (Genesis 3:14, 15)
"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet."
How do you stay on alert for that wily old snake?
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God"