A few days ago, the annual Burmese Python Challenge began in the Florida Everglades that has been going on for a decade or so. It is a contest for catching the largest and the most pythons. If unfamiliar with this hunt, let me explain.
For years, as the pets escaped or python owners began releasing them into the wetlands, it became an excellent breeding ground for the snakes. The Burmese Pythons had found a home, and they multiplied quickly. Too quickly.
The large snakes also found a ready food source in all the wildlife there. It did not take long for the ecosystem of the Everglades to become disrupted. In the span of 20 years, creatures, mainly mammals, were practically wiped out. This happens when an invasive species enters the picture.
Being a curious individual, I always kept my eye on the situation. I was hoping they would discover a natural predator or biological agent to somehow slow their proliferation down. No such luck yet, and the hunts have had a minimal effect. For now, it is a losing battle.
As I read about the 2021 hunt, the Lord showed me similarities between it and my own life. I remembered how I once brought foreign things, harmful things, into the ecosystem of my body. Like the pythons, it did not take long for my life to be taken over by these invasive species.
I do not think it an accident how the Lord was reminding me of this. The serpent is the ultimate symbol of sin. When things not of God controlled me, addictions were born. Fortunately, I found something stronger than the old habits—Jesus.
I say that to say this: God was not simply reminding me of where He brought me from, as great as that was, but He wanted me to pay better attention, to look for others struggling. While reading the arrest reports, many times the same people are apprehended over and over. It is sad.
You see, the python hunt awakened me to the fact that the “old serpent” appears to be winning. I also know we cannot be victorious on our own. As in my life, the permanent remedy over the devil is Jesus.
Unbelievers may chuckle at this statement, but there is more to this life than what we can see. I know what Christ did for me. I owe Him everything.
So, what else am I saying here? The Lord needs and uses the imperfect, those who are battle-tested and blood-bought, on the front lines. Yes, I am speaking of every Christian. We all have a story, and we all have a past. To put it bluntly, we all are called by God to help in our own unique way.
The Burmese Pythons have eaten almost everything that moves in the Everglades. Habitual sin, left unchecked in life, will most assuredly eat away family, friends and one’s future. And the longer sin rules, the further God drifts from the mind.
A good friend mentioned the other day, “God never left me, I’ve left Him, but He never left me.” This is so true.
The Lord wants us to pay attention friends. We have a serpent problem, and the hunt is on to lead others to Jesus. The Python Challenge. Think about it.
May the Lord bless and keep you another week beloved. Amen.
Pastor Mike Smith can be reached by mail at P.O. Box 2, Summerville, GA, 30747, or by email at Smith30747@gmail.com.