You know the best way to kill a snake? Well, it may not actually be the best way, but the city girl in me thinks it’s perfect—a shotgun full of number one shot. For those of you who are still city folks, that’s a load for large animals, like deer. We had a rattler once when Keith was at work, and even though I kept from freezing or panicking to the point of uselessness, I still forgot to unload the larger shot and replace it with number eight, a load for smaller animals. That means when I shot that snake with that huge shot, I blew it to smithereens. As I said, I was extremely satisfied.
Well—mostly satisfied. The thing kept right on writhing. Yes, I knew all about their reflexes and that they thrash about after death. But that thing was flexing and re-flexing entirely too much to suit me. So I got the .22 pistol and put a few more shots in it. Then I was satisfied. When I picked the thing up with the tines of the rake to throw it into the burn barrel, it hung in chunks connected only with a few strings of skin—and it didn’t wiggle at all. Best looking rattlesnake I ever saw. The boys can make fun of me all they want, and laugh about it as they have for the past thirty-something years, but that snake was dead and there was no question about it. And now I have evidence that I might have been right in the first place.
On May 27, 2018, Jennifer and Jeremy Sutcliffe of Lake Corpus Christi, Texas, were cleaning up their yard for a barbecue later that afternoon. Jennifer reached into her flower bed and found a four foot Western diamondback rattler who was not happy to be disturbed. She screamed and Jeremy came running. He chopped the head off the snake and killed it. However…
A few minutes later, he went back to dispose of the head and when he picked it up, the snake bit him. Jennifer rushed him to a hospital as he was already having seizures, and he was life-flighted to one that had the antivenin he needed. He went into a coma and it was four days before the doctors thought he might survive after all, which he eventually did. But we almost had the headline: "Man Dies of Bite by Dead Rattlesnake."
So how does something like this happen? Bryon Shipley, a rattlesnake researcher says, "It is a known fact…that one of the intriguing physiological oddities about snakes and other reptiles is the slowness of the death of…nerves and brain cells…The brain…may remain capable of controlling eye movement, jaw movement, venom gland compression, and even tongue flicking for an hour." (havesnakewilltravel.com) Bottom line: Before you go picking up a dead rattlesnake, you need to wait at least an hour to make sure it's dead.
Some of us don’t do that. In fact, we not only leave it writhing, we put it somewhere for safe keeping just in case it isn’t dead after all. That’s how we treat repentance. I know I shouldn’t be indulging, so let me put it up on the shelf instead of down here on the counter top where I can see it every day. No! Let’s get it out of the house altogether! Whatever it is.
It doesn’t have to be a huge sin of the flesh. It doesn’t have to be a bottle of booze or a stack of pornography. Sometimes it’s a gossip-fest. I know that my friend always dishes the dirt, but I still make plans to see her every week. Or, if for some reason I must see her, then I go with no plan for how to avoid the sin, and yesiree, it pops up and I just couldn’t help it, Lord. You know how she talks—and how I listen.
Whatever it is, God expects me to kill that snake (temptation) and make sure it’s dead. Another one may come my way, but I should be doing my best to monitor my surroundings so it won't spring back to life. If it does, maybe I didn’t use the buckshot--I just shot a BB and missed.
Don’t cuddle up to a rattlesnake. Kill the thing, and make sure it’s dead.
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:11-14