This is going to be a bit of a ramble, but I got into a bit of trouble for this—so let me rhapsodize.
Yesterday, I lost a throwing knife. I’m relatively new to throwing knives, so cut me some slack. Anyway, I lost it in the woods. I saw where it landed in the leaf litter—or so I thought, but even before I hustled over and begin to search, I had a deep sinking sensation that told me this was a disaster. The black dagger disappeared in a thicket of thorns and under a blanket of fallen pine needles.
I spent a disheartening half hour grubbing around for it. I didn’t find it—and still haven’t, for that matter.
I always ask God to help me find things that are lost, and this time was no exception. While I was digging around, I grew frustrated.
“God? You made the entire earth. Can’t you help me find my knife?”
After a second, I realized how futile that was. God knows everything and made everything. With a flash He could hand me what I wanted so badly, but for some reason, He was withholding. There had to be a reason.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose,” I reminded myself (Okay, okay, I didn’t quote the entire thing and what I did quote was only roughly based on the Holy Scriptures). With a sudden paradigm shift, I saw myself as my toddler sister, Noelle. Sometimes she gets these ideas and really wants something that she shouldn’t have—like my knives. She commences whining. That was me. A teenager acting like a toddler.
With that in mind, I told myself to shut up and just enjoy knowing that this was for my good. I kept digging around in the soft soil and sifting through the fallen leaves, this time with a better outlook.
I went inside for a while and then, on a chance, decided to go look one more time for my knife. I grabbed the wheelbarrow because I wanted to gather up some of the splendid dirt I was tilling up so that I could use it in my garden.
As I was reentering the forest, I saw it.
Not the Smith and Wesson throwing knife, no. Something far better.
The silvery head of a snake was protruding from under a fallen willow. I lowered the wheelbarrow and crept closer until I was just a couple feet away. Though I could see the round pupils of the snake, I still wasn’t sure it wasn’t poisonous. It didn’t really look like a viper of any sort, so I assumed it was safe. Yes, This is probably foolish—but I prefer the accolade of ‘wild’.
I’d been scolding myself for wimping out the last time I had an opportunity to catch a garter snake, so I most certainly was not willing to let this particular reptile escape. This snake wasn’t like the common water snake I’d tangled with a couple months before. But after finding out that it wasn’t poisonous, I regretted having sliced that one in two. Nevertheless, that thing wanted to bite me—and the feeling was mutual. I was literally intending to eat it, but we were planning a party for the next day and making a bloody mess for snake jerky wasn’t exactly something my mom would have been crazy about. Maybe next time.
Back to the present, the snake retracted its scaly noggin and slid under the log. I dashed off to get my dad’s leather gloves—which weren’t to protect me as much as to give me the courage to grab the thing by the neck. After the fact, I realized gloves aren’t enough to stop a snake’s fangs—but I didn’t think about that and took my ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ mantra to the extreme, also bestowing the term ‘crazy’ upon myself. You have no idea how much I enjoy that.
I shook the log, and it didn’t take long for the snake to appear on the other side, thrusting its serpentine body out from the morass of fallen leaves. Gloves on, I quickly pinned his head down—a fantastic method to use when one desires to get bitten. (Do I want to get bitten? What do you think?)
Pinning down the head, I worked on pulling more of the body from under the log, my amazement mounting at the length of the snake that I was handling. It was a good two feet long. I was extremely relieved to espy a long, tapered tale–signature of non-venomous serpents.
Holding it like it was a water hose—very humiliating for the reptile, I’m sure—I walked up to the back door and proudly displayed this beautiful snake to anyone who would pay attention—and you can bet your life that everyone paid attention.
I got in a bit of trouble from my dad, who is very smart, but also cautious (implying that there is hope that I can be risky but not dumb… yeah, it’s doubtful). My dad immediately reassured me that the snake wasn’t poisonous—which was, as you can imagine, very relieving. Next, he asked why my hands were shaking.
“I don’t know.” I replied. It was at once apparent that my nerves were pretty shot, but I couldn’t care less. I’d never held a snake before, and this one was beautiful.
A long crimson tongue slid in and out, curiously stroking the air. The body of the sizable snake was a dark gray but had lighter blotches of tan variations. I gathered the body into two hands and got a picture with it.
I lowered the amazing creature to the ground near its log, and it slithered away and coiled up in a hole.
Looking back at the area where I had been digging around for my knife, I realized how blessed I was. This was what God was giving me. He’d hidden my knife so that I would find something I would trade ten knives for, the experience of catching and holding a snake.
The truth was so evident, and I was so filled with joy. I still haven’t found the knife, but I’m totally willing to trade a knife for a snake, even if I never recover the blade. While the story was, I’m sure, thrilling, that’s not really what I wanted you to see. God always knows what’s best for us and whatever you’re going through, there is a purpose, even if it isn’t as lucid to see as what happened to me. God holds the world in His hands and orchestrates everything for the good of those who love Him.