“be careful; the snakes are out”

Yesterday, I hit a trail to do some running, and as I passed by a couple of ladies who stopped to greet one another, they warned me  to keep a look out for snakes.  The alert did not shock me; regular visitors to this park are well aware of the presence of canebrake rattlesnakes.  I had just been thinking about the snake population, wondering if I would see any on this run.  It’s not my favorite encounter when I’m alone on a trail…  I do some fancy, high-stepping strides in an effort to get my feet off the ground!

I continued on and planned to take the open trails that offer plenty of visibility.  I saw no snakes at all; however,  I did see their slithery markings in the dusty path.  That is enough evidence for me; indeed, the snakes are out.

All of my senses were alert, but I also engaged my spirit.  I reminded myself of the truth of God’s Word concerning the order He assigned in His creation.  Man was given dominion over everything else created in the earth, even those creatures that “move along the ground” (Gen. 1:26).  At that moment Jon called me on the phone, and I shared with Him my current focus while trying to run.  He too is aware of the snake population, and the truth of God’s Word and said, “Don’t be afraid to handle any snakes you see!”  We both laughed knowing I had no intention of getting that close.

Today, I finished up the Gospel of Mark in my Bible reading, and do you know that it mentions the handling of snakes?  Mark, quoting Jesus, wrote that the following signs will accompany those who believe:  “In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Mark 16: 18).

Well, there you have it!  These signs will mark us as believers, and I believe it whole-heartedly.  However, I pray that all of my snake encounters do not require use of my hands!

Read about the divine protection from a poisonous snake in the account of Paul shipwrecked on the island of Malta in Acts 28.

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