“Did you see the dead snake in the driveway?” my husband asked me one night last week as I cleaned up from supper. “No,” I replied. “Oh,” he answered nonchalantly, “well, there’s a dead copperhead on the driveway.”
What?!! I put down the dishcloth to go look for myself, and sure enough there lay a dead copperhead smashed in the driveway. My husband later told me that he had seen it dead in the road that morning as he drove to take our son to school. Since I left before him, we concluded that I must have hit it with our van on my way to work that morning.
In the nine years we have lived on our property, we have never found a venomous snake. We’ve seen just about every other kind of wildlife: lizards, mice, skunks, wild turkeys, bats, chimney swifts (in our chimney), deer, rabbits, black snakes, and coyotes. This summer, we even found tree frogs taking up residence in our pool, but we’ve never seen a copperhead! Discovering one so close to where my children play caused me great concern.
I took four curious boys out to inspect the snake and had an impromptu teaching moment on snakes, death, and the shape of a venomous snake’s head. I realized as we stood on the driveway, looking at the snake together, that I had managed to kill that snake, completely inadvertently. I had never even seen it, yet my van had crushed it. The threat was eliminated effortlessly.
This makes me wonder how often threats are lurking close by, and we are completely unaware. That morning on my way to work, I’m sure I was contemplating all of the stresses of the upcoming day, but a copperhead was surely not one of them. Though there had been a potential threat, I remained oblivious.
The psalmist, in Psalm 91, writes of very real threats, close at hand, but focuses on the protection the Lord promises to those who love Him:
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent. Psalm 91:11-13
In this case, I did trample the serpent, with my van, soccer mom style. Take that! Round one to the minivan!
John Piper once famously tweeted, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.”
What else may God have been up to that day that never was brought to my attention? A near miss on the highway? A potential credit card fraud?
Like a naive child, I navigate through life completely unaware of the many ways that the Lord protects me from harm… and rightly so! As God’s children, believers are commanded not to live in fear. Just as a child wanders obliviously in a parking lot, with their able parent holding their hand and navigating them safely to their destination, so we should be learning to recognize danger but not living in fear. Children trust wholeheartedly, knowing they are loved and protected by their parents.
The psalmist writes:
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.” Psalm 91:4a
A mother hen uses her wings to protect her little ones – from danger, rain, and to provide warmth. In Psalm 91, we are also invited to run and hide in the safety of our Father’s wings. Let His promises bring you comfort today.
Pause: Find a quiet moment, in a quiet place, and read Psalm 91. Read it over slowly 2 or 3 times. Are there any verses that stand out to you?
Renew: Choose one verse in Psalm 91 that provides you with reassurance and courage. Read it aloud to yourself and pray it over yourself or a loved one. Continue to meditate on this verse throughout the day, bringing it to remembrance as you go about your daily tasks.
Next: Pay special attention this week to the ways that you see God moving in your life. This may be in the form of protection, but it could also be encouragement or answered prayer.
May we have eyes that are open to see His Kingdom at work around us, and may we walk in courage and assurance, knowing that we are loved and protected!
Pause, Renew, Next