Monday, March 23, 2009

Eyes Wide Open

Plans for a peaceful end to a relaxing day came to a screeching halt when my husband came to a sudden stop while driving up our driveway. There in plain sight, soaking up the heat from our concrete drive, was a snake. If I had been the one behind the wheel, not only would forward progress have stopped, but backward progress would have started immediately!

Our new guest, although uninvited, had obviously seen the "Mi Casa es Su Casa" plaque above our front door and had decided to take us up on the offer. Actually, we have no such sign, but I don't think that bothered this slithery creature. It was just a matter of time before it would be hanging up a sign of it's own; one that would read, "Home sweet Home." Needless to say, we were not excited about this new addition.

My husband, Steve, bravely and cautiously stepped out of our vehicle and walked toward the front of our car. I chose to let my eyes do the walking for me, while the rest of my body stayed belted in the passenger seat, safe and secure. Expecting to meet this guest face to face, my husband was surprised to discover it had made tracks and was now on the move. Out of the corner of his eye, Steve caught a glimpse of the tail end of this serpent as it slipped into the nearby bushes. The snake vanished quickly, taking our peace of mind with it.

For the rest of the summer, life as normal could not be found at our home as long as our new visitor kept eluding us. Now, each time we stepped outdoors, this creature was the first and oftentimes, the only thing on our mind. It was out there. We knew it. We just didn't know where it would show up next. We had been surprised by this creature once and didn't want to be caught unaware a second time.

Taking out the garbage, which "pre-snake" was a nice excuse to venture outside, had now turned into a mad dash out and a mad dash back in. No time to stop and smell the roses when our new guest might be somewhere tiptoeing through the tulips! Nights of sitting out on our patio gazing at the stars were replaced with nights of sitting on our couch watching TV and staring at "stars" far less inspiring. Our garage door, which we usually left slightly ajar during the hot days of summer, was now locked down tighter than Fort Knox. Each time life took us outside the safety of our home, our eyes would quickly begin their job of meticulously scouring the yard for any sign of the snake. Thankfully, we never did see our yard guest again.

From the way we were acting, you would have thought we had never seen a snake before. Snakes, however, are not an oddity where we live. Here, in the southwestern part of New Mexico, they are almost as common as a cactus or a tumbleweed. What WAS odd was our total complacency toward this known danger prior to our snake siting.

Living with a new heightened level of security that summer got me thinking. Like the snake, Satan is a known danger in my life. The Bible warns I need to always be on guard so this enemy of my soul will not catch me unaware. Yet, how easily I let my guard down, forgetting this original serpent can show up at any time and any place in my Christian walk. How often I leave myself vulnerable for attack by neglecting to fortify my heart with God's words of hope and promise. How carelessly I step out into my life without first focusing my eyes on my Saviour and scouring my heart and life for signs of spiritual danger. Foolishly, I allow myself to become complacent, living my life totally oblivious to Satan, who is a constant threat to my very existence, both now and for all eternity!

Yes, the snake who sought to take up residence in our yard that summer and the serpent who is constantly looking for any opportunity to move into my heart are very similar indeed. However, despite their obvious similarities, there remains one striking difference. The snake meant no intentional harm. Satan does. Even more reason for me to be sober, and be vigilant and to keep my eyes wide open!

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