Wise As a Serpent

by Lisa Shirk | Mar 1, 2023 | 0 comments

I glanced out the kitchen window one Monday morning. What was hanging out of the sparrow trap in the brush pile? It looked like a snake.

I grabbed my binoculars to get a closer look. Sure enough, it was a snake! What was it doing in the sparrow trap?
It slithered forward, and I thought it might be leaving. Then I gasped again, for I saw the snake’s predicament. It had swallowed a sparrow, and the resulting bulge in its middle prevented it from leaving the trap.

From my convenient viewpoint, I studied the whole situation. The trap was built of wire mesh with one-half-inch-by-one-inch rectangles. A two-and-a-half-foot garter snake could not possibly slip out with that bulge in its middle.
What course of action should I take? Kill it? A shudder went through me. No!

Should I fetch my husband from the vineyard? But he was so busy with a crew of grape pickers. I opted to just let the matter lie until noon when Raymond came in for lunch. He would kill the snake then, if he wished.

All forenoon I kept a close eye on that snake through my kitchen window. Its systematic attempts to escape intrigued me. Each corner of its prison was thoroughly explored. Repeatedly it tried to wiggle out headfirst. At times it tried to go tail first, pushing its head against the floor of the cage. Each attempt ended in failure.

Noon came. Raymond was equally amazed when he came in for lunch. But immediately after he was done eating, a grape customer came, and he hurried out. No time to take care of the snake.

Oh, no, I thought as I stared out the window. Now I’ll have to wait until supper time to have that snake dispatched.

At that moment a much smaller snake appeared at the trap. Two snakes! It cautiously circled the whole trap, steadily opening and closing its mouth. Was it smelling the distress of the other snake? After five minutes it left, and the big snake settled down for a long snooze.

All afternoon I watched it whenever I had the opportunity. Over and over I thought of how the Bible instructs us to be wise as a serpent. I wondered what this serpent would do. It was thoroughly stuck.

Our supper is at 5:00. At 4:56 I happened to glance out and gasped in surprise. The snake’s mouth was stretched wide open. Quickly grabbing the binoculars for a better view, I watched in horror and fascination as the sparrow came out of its mouth!

I wished fervently for a way to prevent its escape until Raymond came in. But what could I do? After a few starts, the snake slithered out of the trap and was gone.

We were amazed and curious. Was the snake wise enough to know the sparrow was the problem? Did it have the ability to vomit it in order to find freedom? It appeared that way, but we’ll never know for sure.

We are left with at least two free snakes and quite a few questions, as well as a renewed appreciation for all of God’s marvelous creation.

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