We were picking peas in a field behind a member’s farmhouse late one afternoon. We had just moved to the area and had not had time to plant our own garden, so we were happy to do all the free U-picks our brethren offered. Nathan, who was only 13 months old, was playing up at the house under the watchful care of the grandmotherly farmwife. Three year old Lucas wanted to come “help,” so he trailed along behind us, picking a pea pod every so often, but usually exploring.
It took a minute for what he had said to register. Then, with a knot of fear growing in my stomach, I calmly asked, “What blackberries? Show me.”
He led us back about twenty feet, to a place in the fencerow. Instead of blackberry vines, we saw a four foot high green plant, with spade-shaped leaves and round green berries—nightshade. We dropped our buckets, pulled the plant, scooped him up, and headed for the nearest emergency room, thirty miles east. As soon as we arrived, Keith dropped me at the door. I ran in and practically threw both Lucas and the plant on the registration desk.
“My baby ate this,” I managed between gasps.
I had found the trick to immediate action in an emergency room. They ran both him and the plant back behind the swinging doors. I, of course, was taken to Paperwork Central—they never forget the documentation so they will be paid. It probably did not help that I had come straight from the field, sweat, dirt, and all, and so did not look particularly solvent.
Two hours later we left with a completely sobered three- year-old, promising us he would never eat green blackberries again. As far as I know, he hasn’t!
So why are we so much less careful about the poison that sickens our souls? Spiritual nightshade surrounds us every day of our lives. Somehow we think we are immune to its effects. We go places we should not, associate with people we should not, dally with things that are as dangerous as a poisonous snake, and pooh-pooh anyone who dares tell us to be careful.
I am not just talking about things like alcohol and sexual immorality. Do you realize that wealth in the scriptures is never pictured as anything but dangerous to our souls? But what do we wish for when the subject of wishes comes up? And what do we always say? “I could handle it. I would never use it the wrong way. It would never get the best of me.” What do we tell our young people when they say the same things about drugs and alcohol?
Arrogance will always get the best of us in all these cases. Might as well handle a cobra. Might as well drink some cyanide.
Might as well eat a pie made of green blackberries.
For [the] rock [of the wicked] is not as our Rock...For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter. Their wine is the poison of serpents and the cruel venom of asps, Deut 32:31-33.