“And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 

      And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 

      And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.”  Genesis 1:21-23

     It was the fifth day of creation week that God created chickens.  I am so glad that He created chickens.  They are wonderful pets.  Do you know that God loves all the creatures that He created, and He wants them to be safe?  Let me tell you about it. 

     One very pleasant evening in Arkansas, I was transcribing a sermon by Pastor John.  It was all about Satan’s tricks and how he tries to fool us.  The Bible calls Satan a “dragon” and a “serpent,” which is a snake.  God wants us to recognize Satan’s temptations and to avoid them, like we would avoid a snake. 

     As I was happily typing away, all of a sudden a thought came into my head, “Lois, you had better go and close up your chickens.”  You see, the only way to protect the chickens from the raccoons was to lock the chicken house at night. 

     I looked at the clock and objected, “Oh, I do not want to be interrupted right now.  It is only five minutes before nine o’clock.  I will do it later.”  So, I went on typing.   

     A few minutes later, the thought voice was more insistent.  “Lois, you need to shut up your chickens!”  Looking at the time on the clock, I decided I might as well obey the persistent thought.  So I saved my work on the computer, picked up my temperamental, old, red flashlight, and went outside toward the chicken pen.

      The chicken house was divided in half (north and south), and each half had its own yard and its own group of chickens.  I headed for the north side first.  Click—the flashlight did not turn on.  Click, click—finally the light came on.

     I smiled, knowing what I would see inside the chicken house.  Fluffy, a black, mother hen, would be on her nest, and her little chicks would stick their heads out through her feathers to look at the light.  I would look around and count the chickens on the roosts to be sure they were all there.  Keeter would be right in back of his mother, Fluffy.  Keeter was half grown but handicapped with cerebral palsy, and he could not sit on the roost, so he stayed with Fluffy and the new babies.

     I shined the light inside the chicken house.  The nest was there, filled with something black, but it was not Fluffy!  I could not believe my eyes.  There was a huge, ugly, black snake, and he was trying to swallow Keeter!  The light did not bother the snake at all.  But where was Fluffy?

     Before I could think what to do, God came to my rescue.  The thought voice in my mind said, “Lois, do not try to be a hero.  Go get Ken.”   

     I ran as fast as I could, bursting into the house, shouting, “Ken, there is a big, black snake in the chicken house, and it is swallowing Keeter.”

     Ken jumped out of his chair and headed for the back door.  I handed him the old, red flashlight and followed.  As he ran out the door, he grabbed a shovel.  Click, click, click.  The flashlight would not come on.  “Dear Lord,” I prayed, “please let the old, red flashlight work.”  Click, click—nothing.  As Ken got to the door of the chicken yard, the flashlight came on, just when he needed it.  “Oh, thank you, Lord,” I breathed.  But what would Ken do?

     As soon as Ken got to the chicken house, he shoved the shovel underneath the snake and tossed it in the air.  The snake spit out Keeter and made a beeline for the door.  Ken tossed it back into the chicken house under the roost where it writhed while he tried to kill it with the shovel.  The snake was too fast and started to slither outside.

     I did not know what Ken was doing, but the snake was rapidly disappearing into the darkness.  I knew that if that snake got away, the chickens would never be safe again.  I thought of Keeter.  All of this happened in a flash, and in a split second of time, I knew what I had to do.  As the snake’s tail was disappearing out the door, I reached down, grabbed it, and wrapped it securely around my hand.

     Ugh!  The snake’s tail was slimy and stinky, but I held on.  It was not going to kill my Keeter and get away with it!  I pulled with all my strength, but the snake did not budge.  I called to Ken, “I am pulling the snake, but it does not give.”

     Ken called back, “I have it pinned down out here.  Can you hold it?” 

     “Yes,” I replied.

     “Are you sure?” 

     “Yes,” I said determinedly. 

     “Okay, here goes,” said Ken.  I heard, chop, chop, chop, as Ken struck at the snake with the shovel.  “This sure is a tough snake!” exclaimed Ken.  Chop, chop, and then the snake went limp in my hands, and I was holding a three-foot tail portion of that very big, black snake.

     But it was not over.  The half of the snake with its head was underneath the chicken house.  What would it do?  Would it grow a new tail?  Would it kill more of my precious pet chickens?  And where were Fluffy and her chicks? 

     Ken and I looked under the chicken house with the flashlight, hoping to see the front half of the snake, but we could not see anything.  Wherever it was, it was hanging on to something. 

     So we turned our attention to finding Fluffy and the babies.  She had wisely taken her babies to a thick clump of tall weeds, and there she was, calmly sitting on the ground with the babies nice and warm underneath her!  She was nervous about going back into the chicken house, so we freshened her nest and placed some of the babies in it.  Fluffy looked all around, and when she saw that the snake was gone, she took possession of her nest once more and settled her babies.  There was peace and quiet in the chicken house.

     Immediately, the old, red flashlight went out, and we were never again able to get it to work.  God kept it working just as long as we needed it!

     We closed up both the north and south sides of the chicken house and went back into our house, but I was uneasy.  I felt like the snake affair was not over, so I turned to my Heavenly Father again and prayed, “Lord, please let us see the top half of the snake.”  Immediately I felt at peace and went to sleep.

     Early in the morning, I was going to go out and open up the chicken house doors so the chickens could play and eat in their yards, but the thought voice said, “Not yet, Lois, do not let your chickens out yet.”  Okay, that was no problem. 

     I read my Bible and claimed some wonderful Bible promises, and a little later, the thought voice said, “Lois, you may go out now.”

     I was always happy to greet my pets in the morning, so I went quickly to let them out.  Half way across the back yard, I noticed a long, black strip of something lying on the ground in the south chicken yard.  The snake!

     I ran back into the house, shouting, “Ken, the snake is in the south chicken yard!”  He immediately ran outside, grabbing the same shovel he had used the night before, and within seconds he was in the south yard.  I was close behind him.  He nudged the snake.  It barely moved; it was still alive but certainly not very active.

     Ken made sure, with his trusty shovel, that this snake’s head and heart were separated.  He threw the three-foot long top half of the snake into the woods, where he had thrown the three-foot long tail of the snake.  We never had another snake in our chicken house or yards.   There was peace in the whole neighborhood.

     I learned many lessons from this experience:

1     God will guide us, and it is good to listen and obey Him.

2    God loves all the creatures, and He likes to see them safe and happy.

3   We can pray about anything, no matter how trivial it may seem.

4   If we go where we should not go and do what is bad, we will be in trouble.

5   We can lose our lives by going where we do not belong.

     The last two lessons are about the snake.  I want to tell you about this snake.  It was no stranger to our neighborhood.  It had the bad habit of going into my neighbor John’s chicken house, sticking its head right underneath a setting hen and stealing and eating her eggs.  It would take one each day.

     It got so bad that in order to have some baby chicks, John brought me eggs for my hens to sit on and hatch!  Since there were no more eggs in John’s chicken house, the snake just thought it might find eggs in our chicken house!

     If this big, black snake had been satisfied to eat mice and rats in the woods where he belonged, he would still be alive and enjoying life.  Now, do you think we enjoyed killing this snake?  No way!  We do not like to kill anything.  And besides, non-poisonous snakes are beneficial—if they stay where they belong!

     When you are tempted to go where a Christian should not go and do what a Christian should not do, always remember that you could lose your life—spiritually as well as physically—just as this snake lost its life when it went where it should not have gone.

Lois McGaughey