A Crushed Head, A Dead Serpent: An Eternal Victory!
Friday, March 30 2018
About four years ago now, I killed a snake in my home office.
Now, I wish that I could tell you that “I killed a snake” were some kind of idiomatic expression meaning, for example: “I finished off a difficult project”, or “I paid a debt”, or something to that effect.
But no. The words mean exactly what they say: About four years ago now, I killed a snake in my home office.
Well, not exactly …
Yes, I’m talking about a literal snake. About 40 cm long. Black, with red stripes.
And yes, it was in my home office. On the second floor of my house (how on earth did it get up there?). Lying on the floor in front of my desk.
And yes, it happened about four years ago now.
However, no, I did not really do the killing myself. In all truth, I was standing on my bed in my bedroom with my then-16-year old daughter, peeking around the corner into the office from a safe enough distance, while my Dad and a neighbor we had called in for the task (wouldn’t you like to be our neighbor?) did the actual killing.
It happened like this:
After finishing lunch one Friday, I went back upstairs to my office in my home to continue working on, precisely, Reflections For Living. As I walked into the room, I saw something black and red lying on the floor. Thinking it to be a necklace of mine that had fallen, I bent down to pick it up. When it moved, that is slithered and curled up with its head raised as snakes are wont to do – that’s when terror set in!
“DAAAAAAAAAAD!” (my husband, thankfully, was not at home – if he had been, he would have been absolutely no help whatsoever, because he would have had his bags packed and been on his way to Medellin, and I would have had to deal with the snake on my own – Ruben is terrified of snakes!) So I called my Dad instead (you can imagine how thrilled he was that he had just arrived from Canada to visit us!).
Up the stairs, with sticks and shovels in hand, traipsed my Dad and our neighbor. But by the time they arrived, Mr. Snake had slid in between my desk and my closet, and only the tip of his head was still visible.
Now what were we going to do? There was NO way in this world that I was just going to go on with my life, work at my desk and sleep in my bed, knowing that I had a very alive snake under a closet in my house. We all just stood there, not knowing what to do (by that time my Mom had arrived with her camera, and my son Andrew and another terrified neighbor were watching from the sidelines).
Then, I had a brilliant idea! RAID. We could spray an entire bottle of RAID under the closet. Which probably wouldn’t kill Mr. Snake, but the potent smell just might lure him out of his hiding place. And then, my fearless Dad and neighbor could get about the business of doing something with him.
So, that is what we did. And that is what happened. Half a bottle of RAID later, Mr. Snake first peered out from under the closet, and then eventually slid out altogether.
And that’s when bedlam broke out! My Dad’s and our neighbor’s sticks and shovels flailed and smashed around for a while, trying to catch the very fast and slithery (and probably just as terrified!) Mr. Snake. Catherine and I were jumping up and down on the bed, yelling out totally useless instructions. And the rest were jumping back and forth in the background, doing much the same. (So easy for us to do from a safe distance away, while the two men were in the thick of battle madly trying to catch the snake before it slid between or under something else!).
In a stroke of help from above, our neighbor’s stick managed to impale Mr. Snake’s tail against my wooden desk. But then, Mr. Snake really got scared and mad! For what seemed like ages, the rest of his body wriggled and slithered back and forth, up and down, in a valiant but vain attempt to free himself. There was really nothing we could do but try to kill him. Just catching him, sliding him onto a shovel and taking him back outside where he belonged was out of the question – Mr. Snake was much too agitated to comply. And so, as my Dad tried and tried to catch him and kill him, and while the neighbor insisted that he had to smash his head, and while the rest of us jumped around and yelled I-don’t-remember-what, the battle scene continued.
Until finally my Dad delivered the mortal blow. Mr. Snake’s head was crushed, he was dead, and the war was over. Mr. Snake was no longer alive and no longer a threat. Dad and our neighbor had confronted him in battle, and had won. Now I could calmly go back to work at my desk and we could confidently go to sleep in our bed, knowing that the snake was no longer alive and in our house.
It wasn’t until the next morning that our neighbor’s words came back to me, and reminded me of similar words that God spoke to another Serpent in a Garden many many centuries ago.
“You have to crush his head! The only way to kill Mr. Snake is to destroy his head!” our neighbor kept crying out.
“So the LORD God said to the serpent (after having tempted Adam and Eve into sinning against God and His commandments), “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:14,15)
From that day forth, God put enmity and hatred between the serpent and the woman, that is between Satan (represented in the serpent) and all of humankind (represented in the woman Eve). One day many centuries later, an offspring of the woman would be “struck in his heel” by “the serpent” – but he himself would “crush the serpent’s head”.
And that is just what happened around 2000 years ago. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born here on earth, lived and worked and taught and performed miracles until the day that Satan “struck his heel” and He was crucified and He died. But then, three days later Jesus Christ rose from the dead, thus conquering sin and death and Satan himself by “crushing his head”.
At Christmas-time, we celebrate Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. At Easter-time, or more appropriately during Holy Week, we celebrate His death and resurrection in Jerusalem. Jesus Christ was born to die, born to die for our sins so that we might live eternally – and in rising from the dead three days later, He was born to conquer death, and born to conquer His and our great enemy Satan, the serpent of old.
The only way we could kill Mr. Snake who had somehow gotten into our house four years ago was to “crush his head”. And the only way for Satan, the serpent in the Garden of Eden, to be destroyed was for Someone holier and mightier than he to come and “crush his head”.
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15) – the gift of His one and only begotten Son Jesus Christ, who came to earth 2000 years ago to do the “snake-killing” for us!
“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation…” (1 Peter 1:3)
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