The reality of this is just now hitting me.
I am actually going.
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This morning my dad found a snake on the road in front of our house. It was dead, crushed by a passing vehicle.
Snakes are very feared in Haiti. They have very significant demonic symbolism to the Haitians.
In Genesis 3:15, God promises that the coming Messiah will crush the serpent's head.
So I think it's not an accident that God arranged for a crushed snake to show up right outside our front door today.
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That reminds me of my snake story...
Ellerslie leases the Ellerslie campus from a wedding company that owns the property. During the week, we have the campus to ourselves, but on weekends, especially during the summer, weddings take place in the chapel and white tent. During these times, we stay to the end of campus where the dorms are, but often during the reception, the music gets played very loudly, penetrating into our dorm rooms with its driving beat.
Such was the case on Saturday, the 14th of July. The wedding music was oppressive to me, harsh and jarring, as the pounding dance music, so contrary to the spirit and purpose of Ellerslie, invaded every possible quiet spot.
I went searching for a place to pray.
In the little indention where the two wings of girls' dorms connected to the Keswick center, there were two air conditioning units running noisily. I discovered that I could sit against the wall of the building, behind the air conditioning unit, and it drowned out the music perfectly. So I began to pray.
The Lord moved upon my heart to pray for Haiti, and I began to pray what Eric calls "God-prayers," prayers that spring from the very Spirit of God praying through you. The things I was saying were audacious and very threatening to Satan and his kingdom, as I asked God to tear down the strongholds, break Satan's power over Haiti, send in the light of the gospel, and see Jesus high and lifted up in every corner of that land.
Then I said something even more audacious. I addressed Satan directly. I commanded him in the name of Jesus to leave Haiti alone, to depart, to withdraw, to relinquish his hold on that nation.
Instantly, an inexplicable feeling of drowsiness and lethargy came over me. It just fell over me like a warm down blanket. I recognized it as a spiritual attack.
"OH!" I said. "You didn't like that much, did you? Well, then how would you like it if I said it again?" And I repeated essentially the same words I had said before.
Then the burden of prayer lifted, and it was time to go back inside anyway, because we have to be inside the dorms by 9:00 and it was about 8:50. I rose up from my seat on the gravelly ground.
A loud rattle startled me and I looked down.
Unknown to me in the gathering dusk, a snake had slithered up close to me. My movement now startled it and it let me know in no uncertain terms that we were not having a friendly encounter.
I thought it was a rattlesnake by the sound it made. (Later, however, the guys who caught it and removed it said that it was a Bull snake.) In a flash, the following thoughts went through my head.
That's a poisonous snake.
It must have come up here to get warm.
I am cornered in this spot behind the air conditioning unit.
I have to pass within striking distance of it to get out of here.
I can't just stand here and wait to see if it goes away, because I have to be in the dorm by 9:00.
How interesting that a snake should startle me just when I was praying about Haiti.
Snakes symbolize demonic spirits.
I really don't think that Satan liked what I was praying just now.
I'm not afraid of snakes.
I'm not afraid of this one.
I'm just going to walk right by, even though he could reach me if he wanted to.
I'm going to just do it smoothly and calmly, like this.
So, as if I was walking by a gum wrapper, I exited my little corner. The snake remained motionless.
I walked around the corner of the building and a huge toad hopped across my path. I made an exclamation of surprise, and the verse instantly popped into my head, "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet."
I didn't consider it an accident that immediately after praying powerful, warlike prayers against Satan and his kingdom, two symbols of his kingdom should cross my path. But I did take the hint that the enemy was aware of who I am and what I am doing. I also took the hint that if he doesn't like it, it must be actually taking effect among his minions and machinations.
"And the gates of hell shall not prevail against [the church]."--Jesus (Mt. 16:18)
|This was the clearest picture I got of the snake. I didn't have my camera on me during my prayer time, but I went up and got it and went back out when the guys were trying to catch it.|
|In this picture you can see the arrangement of the corner of the building and the air conditioning unit where I was sitting. (There were actually two air conditioning units, and I was sitting behind the other one when the snake came up.)|
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As I was writing out the story of my encounter with the snake, I asked myself, "So what was it really? A rattlesnake, or a bull snake?"
I went to Google images and searched for "rattlesnake."
"Whoa," I thought. "Actually this looks quite a bit like a rattlesnake. Maybe it actually was one."
Then I typed in a search for "bull snake."
The bull snake looked just the same! How would I know which was which?
So I searched "difference between a bull snake and a rattlesnake."
This page came up and convinced me, based on my photos, that it was a bull snake. At first I was a little disappointed. How much more dramatic the story would have been if it was a real rattlesnake.
But on second thought, I think it's even more appropriate this way. The bull snake is the harmless look-alike to the rattlesnake. It's not poisonous or scary. But because it looks like a rattlesnake, it fools predators into staying away from it.
So when Satan sent out his symbolic message to me, he had to send the harmless look-alike, something meant to scare people, but when you look a little closer, he's merely bluffing.
Isn't that exactly like Satan himself? He makes this great smoke-and-mirrors display of his power, when all along, it's a fraud. Jesus de-fanged him at the cross. He has no poison, only his clever attempts to make people believe that he has.
Anyone who knows his stuff will look at a bull snake and scoff. "Ha! You expect to deter me by throwing that in my path? Why, I'm more dangerous than it is. Just look at it--it's not a rattler at all. It doesn't have the wide, triangular head, the stubby, abruptly-ending tail, or the slit-shaped pupils. Biologically it's totally different. It lays eggs; the rattler has live young. I'm not afraid of this thing. You can't convince me that I should run from this guy. He's harmless.
It's just like what God says about people's reaction to Satan:
"They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?" (Isa. 14:16-17).
In other words, when he is revealed for what he is, people will see him and be incredulous. They will squint and look closer and exclaim, "Is that all? Really? We believed he was so great when he was really just that?"
It's like they go out expecting to see something big and scary, and they see a little snake on the road, crushed by a passing car.
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