This past week Jane got a frantic phone call from Lydia. She was trapped in the teacher supply room by a baby rattlesnake curled up by the door! Jim and I rushed over and there it was: a small rattler who had slithered into the supply room by crawling under the door. They say baby rattlers are the worst because they haven’t learned to control how much venom they inject. They just give you the whole dose and that makes them even more dangerous than an adult.
I got a shovel and scooped it into a bucket and hauled it off into the canyon where I released it. With all the rodents, we really need the snakes to control the vermin. No one was hurt and we all laughed and returned to work.
The next day Jim and his little dog Emmy searched the classrooms and the supply room for snakes and came up empty. Just before going home, I had a feeling I better check one more time. I opened the supply room door and there he was again! It was definitely the same snake, but this time he was mad at the world. When I tried to scoop him up with the shovel again, he struck it twice. I thought I had flipped him in the bucket just as before, but when I picked the bucket up, there he was grinning from ear to ear (if snakes had ears.) “Ha! You missed me,” he hissed and charged. It was at that point I realized I was wearing flip-flops and no socks. Not exactly the best choice in footwear for rounding up rattlers! The little guy was fast chasing me as I high stepped down the sidewalk. I really hated to do it, but we couldn’t risk him coming back when the children were there, so I pinned him to the sidewalk with my shovel. Even then he refused to die and now I had a really mad rattlesnake snapping and twisting under the blade of my shovel. I couldn’t lift it up to strike him again so there we were stuck together shouting for help. Jim raced to the rescue, grabbed another shovel and dispatched him much to my relief.
Standing there looking at the carnage (and trying to get my heart to slow down), it occurred to me some people are like that angry little snake. God graciously gives us a second chance. He scoops us up and gives us a second chance, but some people are so stubborn or so angry they immediately return to their old life. They reject God’s grace, shake their stubborn tails and venomously strike back.
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you” (Matthew 7:6).