Playing with Pythons
By Peter Lundell -
My parents were missionaries in Tanzania. When I was about four years old, I was playing with a bunch of older kids on a row of oil drums that stood beside a garage. In the shade between the drums and the wall stretched an animal I’d never seen before. It was long and curvy, coming toward me.
I pointed and told the other kids, but they all screamed and ran away. I scoffed at them. I was fascinated at how the animal was so big and long. I reached down to pet it. It raised and cocked back its head. I thought it wanted to be petted the way my dogs did.
The screen door slammed, my mother screamed and dashed toward me. She yanked me off those drums so frantically I thought my shoulder would separate. Some men trapped the python, and I can still see my father crushing it with a weathered 4×4.
Recently I got to hold a python like the one I’d tried to pet when I was four (except this one was tame and had a full stomach—thank you, Paula!). Paula told me that when a python rears its head like the one I tried to pet, it’s ready to strike. It would have seized me, pulled me down, and coiled around me. No human being could have pulled it off or saved me in time. Until now I never realized I had been seconds from death.
How many times in life have you naively played with danger? It can come in any form. I wonder if we often fear things we shouldn’t and don’t fear things we should. Think about that and how many ways it applies.
To take the idea further, spiritual dangers surround us as well, most of them disguised. Have you experienced your heavenly Father crushing evil that may have harmed you?
PRAYER: Father, in my foolishness I have sometimes played with danger—and with evil. Thank you for Your protection. May I always carry in me the mind of Christ so that I will act faithfully in the face of danger and of evil.
“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV).