The kids called our air b&b the Country House. It was behind a slooow moving gate. A large sign warned of imminent crushing… but you would need to be really patient waiting to be compacted. The house was nestled in the woods. There was a little zip line and a creek. A large wood pile next to the bonfire. It was fabulous… until I went to the wood pile. Moving a log revealed a coiled copperhead. Decent sized, I would guess 2-2.5 feet. I told Ivy to step back, then we went to get the camera. When we were out of sight, the snake slithered and hid under another log. Soon the whole family was staring, and I tried to take a clearer picture. (The header pic is from my mobile, the pic to the right is from our dslr.)
We live in a world that is constantly ramping up fear. Everything has a warning sign. Often there is reason for the warning — we should take care. But if we let those warning signs immobilize us… we will never make it through the gate to life.
A copperhead is venomous (unlike the gate, it is its own warning sign!). We could have let fear drive us inside — lock doors, google search snake repellant! We could kill it. But the snake was not out to get us! It really just wanted to be left alone and to eat mice. Of course we needed a picture first (humans don’t really respect nature’s desire), but then we avoided the wood pile. And we went on with life.
Soon Ezekiel and I were building a dam in the creek. Walking through the water, piling up rocks. Of course the copperhead was still out there. I was aware, but I was not worried. And it proved to be one of my favorite times on our vacation.
The Point — I am not necessarily concerned how you react to snakes. But the snake is a good symbol. The father of lies is represented as a snake (consider the Garden). And we are in a moment of dishonesty. Each lie is designed to raise your fear. The lies claim – as the original snake claimed – to give you secret knowledge. But all that it does is separate you from our Provider. Pulled from the One we trust, fear immobilizes us.
This is most apparent in the reaction to the vaccine – with so many afraid to get it. The lies around the vaccine are plentiful. Some lies of exaggeration: It is dangerous (there are minuscule safety concerns, microscopic compared to Covid deaths). Other lies simply ludicrous: It is a government conspiracy to track you with microchips! (Ironic, since we pay for phones and service to give apple and google this same knowledge!). But the venom behind the lies is fear. And once fear lodges itself inside of us, reason and logic are superseded. Driven by fear, we aren’t carried by Christ. (“Perfect Love drives out fear!” – 1Jn 4:18)
God gives us responsibility. And it is healthy to be aware of danger. But we are not cemented by fear, because we always trust in our Provider (“give us this day our daily bread”).
But how can we know if we are following fear or God? Paul declares, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” — If your life looks like Jesus is in you, then you pass the test.
So how would Jesus react to the vaccine. On one side, getting it may help stop the spread of the virus to our neighbor. On the other, maybe it isn’t safe.
One side risks for the chance to help our neighbor. The other side fears for personal safety.
What would Jesus choose? What did you choose? Then you know if “you are in the faith”.
This Sunday we continue Our Prayer theme, this week focused on “give us this day our daily bread”. I hope you will consider joining us at 10:30. In person or streaming on Facebook and Youtube.
Also, continue reading with Resolve 2021 — a chapter of the New Testament each day. This week we read through 2Corinthians (hence my mind was on 13:5) and started Galatians.