How To Handle Snakes

Ever read the account of God responding to Isreal’s sin by sending fiery serpents into their midst?  I did just a few weeks ago in KIDS Church.  It’s in Numbers 21…go ahead and read it. I’ll wait…

I told of snakes in the camp, people dying, and growing desperate enough to finally remember God. I told how Moses went to God on their behalf, and how God didn’t remove the snakes.  The point of this post isn’t the actual story.  It’s about one five-year-old who made this statement:

“Yeah, I wish we could go to the New Testament and read the good stories”

He’s five, I get it, but aren’t we all guilty of only wanting the warm fuzzy stories sometimes?  You know, the times when Jesus is so overwhelmingly beautiful and gracious?  When we see God’s pledges of faithfulness?

When it comes to our children we run an inherent risk of only including the “good” stories.  But when we do this, it is only half of the picture. Those somewhat uncomfortable stories show us the holiness of God.  God, whose ways are so much higher than ours.  They leave us unable to wrap Him up and put Him in a box.  Not everything can be explained away when it comes to Him.  He is a holy God and not to be trifled with.   If we aren’t comfortable with the mysteries of such a God, then we certainly can’t help our kids get there!

Of course, there is a balance.  God may not have removed the snakes, but He did provide His way, the only way of healing for those who believed…sound familiar?   God doesn’t always respond to our cries for help by removing the snakes.  But He always, always, always does what is GOOD for us. And that is not only the point of this post, but the point of the lesson I taught that Sunday.  The KIDS Church kids listed some snakes they wish God would get rid of in their lives.  Some were as simple as bad guys, and bedwetting.  Some were a bit heavier and all are the subject of my prayers for them.  The Word tells us that God is ALWAYS faithful, Jesus is ALWAYS overwhelmingly beautiful and gracious, and there’s only One to whom we  look  for healing.  And it’s all GOOD.

How do you work out the mystery of a loving Father who doesn’t always remove the snakes from your camp?