We've seen a lot of them this year. According to reports, warmer than normal winter temperatures and an increase in the number of rodents have led to an explosion in the snake population. Unfortunately, my husband, Steve, and I can attest to the fact. The snakes we're seeing? Copperheads.
Our Golden Retriever, Precious, had to learn the hard way that not all animals want to be her friend. As Steve and I headed out to walk our dogs, we could tell something was wrong with Precious. Although her tail wagged furiously as she came out of her doghouse, she didn't look right. Her slim retriever face had been replaced by that of a Shar Pei. With neck and face swollen twice their normal size, we loaded her into our SUV and headed for the vet.
Two tell-tale punctures above her lip, dotted with blood, spoke volumes. She had been bitten by a copperhead - the venom causing the distortions to face and neck. A shot of steroids helped to bring the swelling down. Armed with antihistamine and antibiotics, the vet assured us that she would look like our familiar Golden within 48 hours. What a relief!
But we still had a problem. A snake problem. Where had the copperhead come from? And if there was one, there were probably more. Not a comforting thought.
We began the eradication process. Steve mowed over the ivy that had slowly begun creeping across Precious' area, and cleaned up the tree debris that doubled as a potential snake hideout. We were feeling much better already. But our relief was short-lived.
Over the next six weeks, Steve and I killed three copperheads - each one within a stones' throw of our dogs. Unlike what I had read about these snakes, these copperheads seemed to be extremely bold. Instead of staying hidden during the day and relying on camouflage for safety, these slithering creatures were in plain sight on our walking path.
Obviously we needed to dedicate more time to yard clean-up. Woodpiles, leaf debris, and branches would all have to go. One step at a time.
What an important lesson for me. Without realizing it, I often leave myself vulnerable to the enemy. I allow sin to go unconfessed in my life - and pretty soon I've got piles of debris in my heart that become a breeding ground for more sin. If I refuse to begin the eradication process, the bite of sin will inject its venom - marring my testimony as a follower of Christ. The consequences are devastating - a broken relationship with the Lord, and the potential to cause others to stumble.
No one wrote more poignantly about the consequences of sin than King David. He accurately described the affect of concealing, then confessing his sin, "When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah," (Psalms 32:3-5; KJV).
Confession of sin invites forgiveness from the Lord. A clean heart re-institutes intimate fellowship with our Savior. What could be better?!
Do you have some internal housekeeping to do? Are there any piles of debris in your heart that need to be removed? What step will you take today to rid yourself of sin?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the lessons I can learn from Your creation. Help me to willingly eradicate sin from my life, so I can have a right relationship with You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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