Some truths never get too old for the telling or sharing. In our Sunday school class here on the Bolivar Peninsula, I have taught about salt and light for three weeks. Common subjects both — but super important to be understood and obeyed.
Light is so important that I decided to dwell on that subject a little more than I had at first thought I would, and as so often happens, God sent a great illustration to help me with my study. It’s funny now. When it happened, not so much. We learn from personal illustrations and events that we tend to take for granted in our lives.
Here on the peninsula, we have had some recent issues with snakes. We are told that because of the drought, snakes, mice and other wildlife have had to seek water supplies in places they normally would not perhaps be seen. Let it be said on the record that I hate snakes. I fear them. Doesn’t matter to me if they are poisonous or not. A snake would make me hurt myself in my eagerness to get away from it.
Dog water bowls, standing fresh water, leaking hoses, and birdbaths have all been suspected to attract the snakes we normally never see around these parts. A dear friend of mine who loves the peninsula and would live here if she could now lives near College Station and Bryan. Judy is an animal lover and advocate for the care of all of God’s species. While she was changing out the water bowls for her own dogs, a copperhead got her on the bony part of the foot even after she had looked for snakes when she first went into her yard.
She was rushed to the hospital where they immediately administered antibiotics and kept her in the emergency room for close observation for six hours. Believing the situation was under control, the personnel let her go home, but three weeks later and much pain and swelling endured, she is back in the hospital from the same snake bite. This incident had been weighing on my mind, although I consider myself a brave woman and lived alone for a number of years prior to my marriage. I can usually fend for myself. I went to bed earlier the other night than Ted, my husband, did. Dozing off to sleep in that wonderful place just between consciousness and slumber, I was awakened suddenly because of a very loud thump, thump that seemed to be coming from the very wall at the head of the bed. I listened quietly and I could actually feel my heart begin beating faster and faster.
Not wanting to seem paranoid, I simply sat still in my bed (with the cover pulled up just under my chin) and listened. Again, the thump, thump sound came, and this time, I was just certain that a huge snake had somehow crawled into our wall from the outside and was trying to get through the boards and sheetrock and into my room. I suppose Judy’s incident had been on my mind when I prayed for her just before I went to bed. I also did not want Ted to believe I had lost my mind. But after the third thump, thump, I ran quickly into the family room where he was watching TV and said, “Come quickly, I think there is a snake in our wall.” He did look at me as though he might be considering that I perhaps had lost my mind.
As we came down the hallway, he asked every so casually, “What makes you think there is a snake in the wall?” I described animatedly the thump, thump sound I had heard and he only smiled. Ted then asked, “Did you turn on the light?” I said, “No, I didn’t. I did not take time to turn on the light, and believe me, I ran out of the room to get you thinking I might be about to step on the snake if he got through and was waiting on the carpet.”
Ted promptly reached over and flipped the light switch illuminating our bedroom with bright, reassuring light. He went over to the offending wall and listened and thumped it back from our side, and lo and behold, nothing happened. He checked for holes or breaks in the wall. Not one. We sat on the side of the bed and just as we became quiet, thump, thump, there it was again. Ted started laughing (which I did not appreciate very much at the moment), and explained to me that the sound I heard was Anchor, our big, white Siberian Samoyed, throwing his toys around downstairs. When one or the other hit the side of the house, it made the sound that did appear to be coming from the wall.
I went back to bed and to sleep and Ted returned to the conclusion of his TV program. The point I want to make with my illustration is that turning on the light dispelled any fear I had of giant serpents roaming my bedroom floor. The bright rays allowed me to see that everything was completely normal, and in fact, was quite pretty and peaceful with objects in place and ready for use the following morning. The coverlet was on the bed in its proper place, the closet door was closed, nothing was scattered around, and I was perfectly safe in my own room in my own home.
Turning on the light of God’s Word is very much like the bright rays of light in my bedroom on this still, dark night when I imagined the very worse scene I could dream up while falling off to sleep. When we are frightened, unsure of our path, or fearful of the future, we must learn to turn to the light.“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
“Awake thou that sleepest, and arise…and Christ shall give thee light. See then that you walk circumspectly (cautiously), not as fools, but as wise” (Ephesians 5:14, 15).
Brenda Cannon Henley is an award-winning journalist and writer living on the Southeast Texas Gulf Coast. She can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.