I returned home on Sunday afternoon to find my family in an uproar. Something had happened that no one expected.
My oldest son and his family were here for the weekend and we had spent several hours outside, playing ball, riding the “big wheel” on the driveway, and making “S’mores” over the autumn’s first fire. We had chased the overthrown balls into the flowerbeds and my grandsons had gone exploring in the “Back 40” of our yard.
On Sunday, my oldest grandson was repeating his gleeful rides on the Big Wheel. He stopped at the edge of the flowerbed–a place where I have stepped hundreds of times in the last 15 years. But there at the edge, an invisible danger was too close for comfort. My grandson had discovered a mature copperhead. If you took your eyes off of him, he melted into the colors and patterns of the leaves and mulch. He was silent and still, unmoved by the activity just a few inches away.
Danger rarely announces itself. Porn doesn’t announce its addictive quality. Vaping pipes don’t warn you that you will become enslaved to the nicotine hit it offers. Gossip doesn’t flash an alert that you’re about to destroy someone’s reputation or business. All of these are camouflaged just as effectively as the copperhead in my yard. And like my grandson, you can pass by those dangers many times and never pay a price for them, but eventually, the snake strikes to defend territory, an experiment with a substance alters your chemistry.
The safest, most certain “deliverance” from these is to run away, to have nothing to do with them. But you can’t wait until you get a warning. Sometimes the only warning is when you find yourself burned by your own choices.
The Bible gives these instructions: “Be alert!” “Flee.” “Don’t allow it to form a foothold.” As a granddad, I’m grateful that my young grandson never experienced the painful danger he avoided. And I pray for all of you reading that you’ll be on guard for the camouflaged dangers that want to rob your joy.
P.S. See if you can spot the copperhead in the picture above!