I was praying in our sanctuary the other day doing devotions and reading Scripture wherever it took me in my deliberations and thoughts. While doing this, I would get up, check on things, and walk the floor, mainly because it is hard for me to simply sit in God’s presence. He is certainly still working on me in that. You who know me know that I talk a lot when I get going; what comes to mind is often simply blurted out while other, possibly more important things, are not so easily given out.
Anyway, as I got up one time to do something, I looked over at the fireplace at the front where I was sitting, reading and praying, and I saw one of the rubber snakes our children seem to love playing with beside the open bible on the mantle; this is what I thought of at that moment.
There was another serpent many years ago, not made of rubber, who made his way into a garden, climbing the one tree God had forbidden the residents of this garden from eating the fruit of.
God said to the man prior to creating woman,
“From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in
the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17)
It seems clear that the man shared with the woman this directive of not eating of this one tree as we read further in Scripture where the woman tells this to the serpent. How do I know this? At the start of chapter 3 in Genesis she identified the tree they were not to eat from to the serpent saying, we can eat from the trees of the garden but of this one tree in the middle of this garden, we cannot eat.
The interesting thing I noticed is that the serpent then begins to change what God meant when He said, taking a statement of truth,
“you will surely die,” (Gen 2:17)
and redefining it with subtle changes to what was stated.
When I noticed the toy snake, I was struck that the enemy, our enemy Satan, continues to use the same methods, sowing seeds of fear through doubt in our current situation.
You do not need to go far to see or hear the truth of the present pandemic being shared in different ways, along with many changes added or magnified in the telling. Facts from history, of influenzas, SARS, and even as far back as the Black Plague are being misrepresented, and in our retelling, they are twisted even more. And the outcome for us today is fear.
We are fearful even if we see the true statistics, that in the vast majority of cases found to be credible our ability to fight off this virus is more than the chance of succumbing to it. I do not say this to eliminate our need to exercise common sense, but as believers, we are called to recognize that our faith is in God the Father, not any one organization or government decree, of which there will be more coming, I am sure.
The truth I understood when I saw the little rubble snake? We as believers in God, need to remember the serpent is still in our garden. He is whispering adjusted truths, adding information not presented, and in general just creating havoc and chaos, not just in our lives but throughout the world. All this is to make us doubt God, to question God and what we consider good compared to what we think we see as His definition of good. Scripture does not say throw out common sense in order to follow God, but it does say to be wise as serpents while being gentle as doves. Read and educate yourself on what to do during this time. The constant is practice personal hygiene by washing your hands, sneezing into your elbow, and being careful of your interaction with others.
I remind you all, we have a God who hears us and our concerns. Do not give in to the fear the enemy is sowing so handily throughout the world. Fear is the number one reason the pandemic has gained the foothold it has, creating decision-making that has not helped both currently and in the beginning when leaders felt keeping it quiet would be a better way to proceed. I am not an expert, and I will work to adhere to the best practices recommended by the experts in the field, but I will not give myself over to letting fear run my life; I will give that authority to my God.