I have a confession to make. I do NOT hate bugs. Actually, I am very fascinated by them. (Well, except for roaches.)
I know, I know…that’s not a very ladylike admission. Here’s an even bigger confession. I think snakes are amazing creatures as well. There is something intriguing about how they move. I’ve always thought they were interesting. I don’t necessarily want to get too close, but they don’t bother me. However, recently something happened to change my mind.
Some months ago, I went out to feed the chickens early in the morning. As I was scooping out their food, I sensed motion out of the corner of my eye. When I turned to look…there was a 6-foot-long boa constrictor looking back at me! We were separated only by three feet of space and some chicken wire.
I could tell by the lump in the middle of his body that he (or she) had dined on one of my full grown chickens. What to do??? I really wanted to dissect that snake to find out which hen he’d eaten. I decided to call for reinforcements.
“Babe, there’s a BIG snake in the chicken coop!”
My gallant husband was more than willing to come to my rescue. Until he saw the snake. “Whoa, that’s a BIG snake!” He looked around for an appropriate snake killing tool. The machete? Too dull. The limb cutting saw? Too long. The shovel? That might work.
When he raised the shovel to hit the boa, it seemed to sense what was coming and moved it’s head back. He hit it right behind the head. What happened next was crazy…creepy… unbelievable. The boa raised the front of it’s body a foot off of the ground and let out this loud noise between a hiss and a growl! I’ve never heard such a chilling sound!
I suddenly wanted to get far away from that animal! It occurred to me that if that snake could, (if it were big enough) it would hurt me. I thought of all the nights I had gone out to the chicken coop to gather eggs, never even bothering with a light. How long had Mr. Boa been hanging around?
After we buried him (and no I was not able to dissect him…he was WAY too tough) my curiosity started working. I couldn’t imagine how that boa had come into the chicken coop and eaten a full grown hen without the whole bunch of them starting up a ruckus. Normally when something threatens a chicken, they all (about 50 of them) start squawking like crazy. I can hear them from inside the house and will go check to see what is bothering them. How was it that I didn’t even hear a peep out of them that night?
We figured out that the hen eaten by the boa was a sweet little white hen that had taken to roosting all by herself. She was a loner and preferred to avoid the company of the other chickens. She was young and a little timid. Did that have anything to do with how she died?
I started researching online about how boa constrictors hunt. What I learned was that they move very, veeeerrrryy slowly until they are close to their prey. So slowly, that their prey doesn’t pay them much attention. When they are within striking distance of their prey, they hold their head very still while they bunch their bodies up like a giant spring. Then in a split second, they strike. They grab their prey with their mouth while they wrap that giant constricting body around it and begin to squeeze. It happens so fast, their prey doesn’t even have time to realize what’s happening before it’s all over.
Immediately my mind came up with a spiritual analogy. Satan is the enemy of our soul. We are his prey. His desire is to destroy us. He wants to take our families, our minds, our souls captive. But sometimes he moves so slowly and carefully that we don’t recognize him for who he is…and what he is after. He tries to inch closer without us recognizing his goal.
That “little” rebellion in our spirit, a door that is opened “just a crack” to something we know is wrong, letting our mind dwell on sinful “possibilities”, allowing a little bit of unforgiveness, anger, and bitterness into our heart. All of these things are tricks he uses to get a little closer. He doesn’t want to do anything too alarming because we might run away…but if he can just advance a little bit at a time until we are within his grasp….
That’s why the scriptures are clear,
“Flee youthful lusts…” II Timothy 2:22
“Be sober, be vigilante; because your adversary, the devil…” I Peter 5:8
“Resist the devil…” James 4:7
“And do not give the devil an opportunity…” Ephesians 4:27
In a nutshell, I learned two things from my experience with the boa…
- Don’t underestimate your enemy.
- You are more vulnerable if you isolate yourself.
That little hen put herself in a vulnerable situation when she chose to remove herself from the flock. There is safety in numbers. “In the multitude of counselors there is safety..” Proverbs 11:14. Don’t convince yourself you’re better off alone, that nobody really understands you. Stay with the flock. Hear the words of your spiritual leaders. Heed their warnings. Things that seem so small and unimportant to you can turn into a spiritual stumbling block.
Remember Satan is not your friend. He would like nothing more than to destroy you. Don’t give him the chance. Don’t even let him get close!