Jody and Sarah Fox - this phase of our Journey as IMB missionaries in Niger, West Africa

Monday, October 17, 2011

Snakes are Scary!

This past week we had a close encounter with a snake! Too close for comfort. I (Sarah) was outside in the morning reading my Bible while the girls played inside and Jody had already gone to study. Lauren came outside, so I sent her back into the house. I heard her whimpering so I turned around to see what was wrong. She was standing near the door, so I thought she pinched her finger in the door or was seeing a bug (she even whimpers at ants). But she whimpered louder and it was not her normal “I see a bug” whimper, so I stood up and ran to her. Right near her was a big black snake! I picked her up quickly and backed away. By now Camryn and Jordan were standing by the doorway too. They were in the house and Lauren and I were outside – the snake was blocking the doorway, so we couldn’t go in. I didn’t want it to go in the house, so I told the girls to close the door and run to their room. I stood there a few seconds trying to decide what to do. I was looking at his features as well – dark navy blue, about so long, and it looks like it had breakfast because there was a big bulge about halfway down. At that point I think the snake wanted to leave, but felt threatened because he raised up his head and his neck flared out! Once he did that I realized this could be a very dangerous snake, so I ran next door to tell someone. A guy who was staying next door came outside to see it, but the snake had disappeared. About 5 minutes later a few of the compound workers came with sticks and started poking through all the shrubs around the compound, but couldn’t find it. Then they brought down lawn mowers and mowed down all the plants – they were determined to find this snake!

As long as this snake was out there, we were all a bit on edge. We didn’t want the kids going close to any bushes and we were extra careful in keeping our eyes on them when they played outside. We always have lizards darting around, but now the lizards made me jump and I was extra jittery just walking around outside. When I had told the girls to close the door, it didn’t latch, so we were also concerned the snake may have slithered into our house… not a comforting thought! We looked under the beds and in every corner, but no snake.

About 3 in the afternoon, someone came to my door and said, “Sarah, your friend has been found!” One of the workers had spotted the snake, tracked him down, and killed him! It was hanging limp over a stick and my first thought when I saw it was, “Man, that is one small and pitiful looking snake!” I felt stupid for being afraid of it. Was it really as big as I had been telling people all day? Was it even the same snake? He laid it out on the ground and I saw that it was pretty long, and I saw the bulge in it’s stomach. Yep, the same snake! The snake that was such a threat to us earlier in the day and had kept us on edge all day was now pathetic looking and was no longer a threat because he was dead!

This reminded me of our spiritual battles we fight. I’ve been having many these last few months. I’m pretty sure our enemy, Satan, doesn’t want our family here in Niger doing what we’re doing. And if we won’t leave, he at least wants to make us as ineffective as possible. But this snake episode reminded me that our enemy, Satan, will have his head crushed (Gen. 3:15). He will be defeated. He has been conquered by Christ, our Savior. In some ways I have to liken him to the living snake – dangerous, poisonous, and deadly. But one day he will be like the dead snake and will not be able to harm us in any way. Satan and his followers are real enemies, so I have to be prepared to fight against them with my weapons: the Word of God, prayer, and faith. So many times I live my life in defeat, fear, or discouragement because I don’t use these weapons God has given me.

They told us the snake was a black cobra. We’re not 100% sure if it was, but if so a bite from one would have killed Lauren in less than 30 minutes. Wow! When I think about that I just have to praise the Lord and thank Him for protecting our family! God’s in control and we rest in that knowledge. We can’t live in fear – neither earthly nor spiritual fears. Our God is greater! As I John 4:4 reminds us, “for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

1 comment:

  1. Thank God for his watch-care over you guys! "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!"

    Chad Dalton