“What in the world is that dog after?” I yelled from around the corner. My husband and I were working in the new house installing ceiling boards. Frank, our wild, hooligan of a dog, was obviously trailing a scent through the new house and barking like a maniac.
“It’s probably his shadow. I’ll go find out and make him hush,” David responded. I went back to hammering when suddenly David rounded the corner holding something. “You aren’t gonna’ believe this, but all that barking was on purpose. Frank trailed an oak snake, and it was coiled back there in the corner, behind that pile of wood.”
My heart caught in my throat as he held the small gray snake that appeared to be the size of a boa constrictor. I took several steps backward in panic, “You mean that nasty thing was in my new house?”
“Yep. Right in that front closet,” he looked down at Frank, “But Frank could smell him. He didn’t know what it was, but he trusted his instinct and we were able to find it. Frank’s a good boy,” he patted Frank on the head and let him smell the snake one more time.
So often, we are like Frank. We get a whiff of something that just doesn’t smell right, but more often than not, we write it off or ignore it, convinced that we are imagining things. Then, as hindsight often proves, our neglected instincts were right, and had we trusted them, a tough situation could have been averted.
If we had ignored the dog’s bark, Saturday, the oak snake would have remained coiled in that closet undetected until we started working on the ceiling in that room, which could be weeks away. That snake could have had a little snakey family by then and made quite the home in a house that wasn’t built for him.
I think God sends us these “snakey” alerts throughout the day; checks in our spirit that make us stop and think through decisions. Unsettled feelings about certain dates or questions that we normally wouldn’t ask. Is it fear? Or is it God pricking our hearts and minds, giving us a momentary “snakey” instinct? Do we dismiss it? Or do we stop and ask God for direction?
As I think of all the things that could have happened if we had ignored Frank’s incessant warning, I think about all the little nudges that I have ignored that could have kept me from so much extra hard stuff. Let’s make a conscious effort this week to stop and pray about the “snakey” instincts that seem so small. It just might be God’s warning beacon flashing ahead of a dark, raging, scary storm.