I have the privilege of working a K-8 school serving many of those grades each day. I love my job! Anytime you work with children, no matter the age, you can always expect surprises. This particular day was one of those days.
I have a great way to start my day with the Kindergarten. I have a quick transition from the youngest in the building, to the oldest, 8th grade. This day was like many others rushing to get to my classroom to my 8th graders waiting on me. It was a beautiful spring day, not too hot and not to cold, so I decided we would take our reading outside. I was taking roll and making sure every student knew what the plan were, when one of my students frantically started calling my name over and over. I walk over and the student is saying, “There is a snake in my binder”. I immediately thought, this is a joke, but the frantic look on her face told me otherwise. I said ok, let me see it, I think still in disbelief. The binder opens up and there, in the binder is a python. At first I thought, this cant be real, its the end of the year and this is a little practical joke to make me remember them. Foolishly, I reach down to touch the “snake” and it wasn’t plastic and its hiss gave away its irritation at my prodding. Immediately, I had to swing in action. My first job was to get all of my students out of the room, away from harm. Second, make sure the snake was contained until we figured out what to do. Eventually, the snake was picked up and the excitement was over and I was able to return to my room. I sat down at my desk and just took a deep breathe, almost is disbelief of what had just transpired. It happened to be a few minutes where I would be planning and I found myself weeping. You see, the past year and half or so my family and I have experienced loss, warfare, and hurt in ways I could have never imagine would happen. Just like the snake in my classroom, the devil had taken my father from us. Not by death, but by sin. My husband, and I am not just saying this, one of the most gifted, humble, and expositors of the word has been experiencing trials in ministry I never thought could happen. I began to experience trials at work that were adding to the stress, that to this day makes absolutely no sense. What was going on? We were under attack. That snake in the classroom, coming out of no where, is exactly how our enemy, satan attacks. As I sat at my desk I felt the urge to open the word and to just cry out for protection for my family, and if He chose not to protect in order to bring Him glory, that He would give us the strength to hold fast and stand firm. You see friends the word tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” Basically that serpent is crafty, deceiving and the author of division and confusion. So what do we do? How do we prepare ourselves for the snake in the classroom? In that situation, when the attacks rise, our response matters and could change the course of our lives. With the snake in my classroom, my first responsibility was the safety of those students entrusted to me. So spiritually what is our first response? I think Paul said it best in Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil”. Do you see that? We’ve got to armor up, Paul was really specific here, “Put on the full armor”, not just part of it. I love that he tells us just before giving us the armor to remember, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”. Do you see it? We do not wrestle against the things of this world. This is bigger. The enemy is fighting for our children, marriages, jobs, health, and churches. Why? He uses all forces to keep us from sharing the message of the gospel. He does not want us to spread the Word. He will battle cunningly and use temptations to take us where we never thought we would go. Basically, the preaching and teaching of the word is a threat to him, because those who study and devour the word will turn the world upside down with the truth of the gospel. Knowledge in this case is a threat. He would rather us be deficient and malnourished lacking knowledge of the word of God. I would love to end this by saying the attacks are better and we are just sailing along, but that would be a lie. The arrows have only increased and in ways I never dreamed possible, but Iam tightening my armor, because the battle wages on. So I leave you with His words of protection from Him. My gift today was the snake in my classroom and the gentle reminder that I better be on guard constantly, because that snake is showing up all the time in my life. My daughter saw me writing this and asked how could that be a gift? My answer was simple, maybe, Grace, it will make me more like Him and give me the opportunity to share the gospel. What a gift to be shared. Let’s armor up, the battle wages on.
“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, praying at all times, in the spirit with all prayer and supplication”