If you hate snakes, I apologize in advance for the story I’m about to tell you. It’s such a perfect illustration of how Satan attacks us, I just can’t get away from it.
Several months ago when the weather was still warm and the birds were nesting, a cute little bird family lived in the birdhouse on my daycare deck. (Ok, they were sparrows, but I happen to like sparrows.)
Each afternoon while my daycare kiddos slept, I watched my bird family through the kitchen window. They provided great entertainment as I cleaned up after the daily hurricane (otherwise known as lunch). I enjoyed watching Mama and Daddy Sparrow arrive with bits of food, disappear into the birdhouse, and flit away again in search of more tasty morsels for their babies.
I glanced up one Friday and saw a snake lying perfectly still underneath that birdhouse. It was so still I thought it was dead. (Confession: I ran out and took a couple of photos. I’ll include them at the end of this post, just in case you don’t want to see snakes but you still want to hear the story!)
After running back inside, I kept a close watch out the window to see what would happen. The snake laid there on the deck for about ten minutes. Then it slowly began to climb the deck railing, black scales glinting as it moved ever upwards to that little blue birdhouse.
It had nearly reached the top of the railing, when birds of various shapes and sizes began a ferocious attack. Sparrows and cardinals swooped down on the threatening reptile, along with larger species I didn’t recognize. The birds banded together, screeching and diving on the snake until it retreated back down the railing and slipped out of sight under the deck.
I was amazed. Never before had I seen animals work together to drive off a predator. It was akin to cheering for the underdogs in a sports competition. I reveled in the knowledge that the little birds had fought off the big bad snake and kept their babies safe.
I’m sorry to say, the story doesn’t have a happy ending. I arrived Monday morning at the daycare to find a few feathers and bits of nest scattered on the deck. The birdhouse was empty. I don’t know for sure what happened that weekend, but I can take a pretty good guess.
The more I thought about the incident, the more God spoke to my heart. I’d like to share three things I learned.
1. Satan will bide his time, patiently waiting until you feel there is no danger from the temptation you face.
I was dumbfounded by how long that snake laid perfectly still on the deck below the birdhouse. As long as it was still, the birds paid no attention to it.
Satan often works the same way.
He won’t come right out and tempt us in obvious ways; he has been tempting the saints for thousands of years, and he is good at it. His ways are subtle and his attacks calculated. We must be on constant guard against temptation.
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” (Luke 22:31)
2. Christians need to band together to help protect each other from Satan’s attacks.
If the sparrows had been the only birds trying to fight off the snake, it’s doubtful they would have succeeded. It took several birds, working together, to drive off the danger.
I’m afraid we as Christians often try to fight our own battles without the resources God has given us. Are you discouraged? Ask your friends to pray with you and for you. Are you battling temptation? Make yourself accountable to a group of strong believers. Do you need guidance? Seek counsel from trusted leaders.
We were not meant to walk the road of life alone. In fact, we cannot do it alone. When Satan sees a believer cut off from his fellow Christians, he knows the battle is already half won.
If you need help, ask for it. And if you see another Christian brother or sister struggling, fight for them. Don’t let them go down alone.
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-2)
“Two are better than one: because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
3. Just because you have won your battle against temptation today, doesn’t mean Satan won’t attack again tomorrow.
I’m not certain what happened after I left my daycare that afternoon, but it’s fairly obvious the snake didn’t go far. Perhaps it waited under the deck until the next day, or the next day, but it eventually attacked those baby birds again. And this time, it succeeded in destroying its prey.
The Christian life is a series of battles against temptation, not simply one huge battle. After being victorious in an area of our lives, it’s easy to sit back and relax our guard against Satan’s attacks. God’s Word encourages us to be ever watchful for the schemes of the devil.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8)
Although I was saddened by the loss of my little bird family, I’m thankful for the lessons God showed me through a snake and a birdhouse. May we be challenged today to be on guard against the attacks of Satan, and to fight for our fellow believers. For when things seem the quietest, the safest….that’s when we need to be vigilant.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:14