It was a quiet, but busy Saturday. It had been full of ministry and, at the end of the day, some errands. The deck garden stayed on my mind the whole day because it needed watering. Up to that point, it had been a dry spring and a couple of days had passed since the last watering. You know from previous posts that I’m serious about my deck garden.
By the time I drove home, it was almost dark. As I drove through the darkness down to the house, all that was on, my mind was to water the deck garden. Finally, it was time to do this chore. After parking in my carport, I went inside to put my purse down, and turn on the light near the deck. Cautiously, I made my way through the carport around to the door that leads out to the deck. The reason for my caution is that we live in the woods. Our carport is lined with shelves, tables, boxes, and such making far-reaching visibility limited. Snakes are always on my mind when I exit our house. I hope to see them before they see me if that’s possible. We’ve lived here over 3 1/2 years, and up until Saturday evening, I’d not encountered a living snake here.
I was aware that night was falling, and this activity was unusual for me, but watering the plants seemed the priority. As I made my way to the faucet, bending to turn it on, I uttered with some angst, “Jesus, please protect me from getting any kind of bite while I’m out here. I don’t want a mosquito bite or anything else.”
I tugged the hose and walked straight ahead from the faucet, out to my deck. Once the deck plants were watered, I should have gone inside. Instead, I decided to water the hostas and impatiens planted by the side of the house.
Standing on the corner of the sidewalk, I adjusted the hose nozzle to spray out to the farthest plants. As I was quietly standing there watching the water reach to the end, in my mind, the Lord said, “walk down the sidewalk.”
As a precaution, I’m spraying the sidewalk with the idea of scaring off anything(snakes) as I walked down it. I was there several minutes watering those plants. At one point, in my aware state, I looked up and noticed a light fixture under the eaves of the house. I made a note of this fixture verbally and thought we could get a bulb installed there. Eventually, I rotate to bring my watering up further the line of plants.
It was then that something moved to my left.
By this time, all my internal alarm system is alert as my eyes search for the source of the movement. My focus began to see rust and black and a pile of spiral. In my curiosity and disbelief, I leaned forward for more clarity. It was then that I saw the snake stretching from his coiled position, his head going up toward the wall, thankfully, away from me. His whole body was in motion. I saw his body first. The rust color and the black, swivel stripes(that I’ve since learned were hourglass-shaped) as an overlay were as clear as could be, even in the darkness. And then, I looked at the head, and it was diamond. I know there are non-poisonous snakes with diamond heads, but I knew this was not one of them. It sounds like I just hung out to observe this poisonous villain, but these observations took place in a few seconds. Once my brain took in all that information, well, you can guess what happened.
My husband didn’t arrive on the scene until a good 10 minutes later. He found me in the middle of the driveway urging him to kill the snake before he slithered away. I think he thought the snake was likely harmless, but when he went to the place of my sighting, his demeanor changed, and in a few moments, a shot was fired.
Since that time, I haven’t been out to my deck garden. It is sad. But I think the Lord knew I’d need some recovery time. He’s sent two storms of pounding rain to take care of the watering this week. I plan to venture out to the deck this weekend and move past this experience.
I don’t know how good you are about listening to God’s voice, but I am so very thankful I listened. You see, if I had stayed on that corner watering the plants on the side of the house, things would be different. God moved me from being in the snake’s territory, inches from danger, to safety.
It still seems like I may never get the image of that snake out of my head. But I choose to focus on God’s protection. As I waited on my husband that night, I prayed the Lord would leave the snake near where I’d seen it so that he could shoot it. It had moved to the other side of the sidewalk, but was quickly found.
Finding comfort in a deck light and trusting God to protect me despite myself wasn’t my wisest decision ever. I know God doesn’t delight in foolish mistakes. However, He does delight when His children call upon Him, and I did that. His voice ever gentle, yet instructive, was the same as I’ve heard before. I love Him for it.
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. Psalm 89:15