I was reading an interesting storybook, so it took awhile for the little scream to catch my attention. But it persisted, shrill enough, insistent enough, that I finally heard it.
Slowly I came back to this land, this day, this parking lot, this lumber yard where I was sitting in the car waiting for my husband to buy some paint for our house.
I lifted my head and listened. If it was a bird, it was a tiny one. If it was a cricket, it was a loud one. A small child? Too shrill. It sounded like an animal caught in a trap, but not here in the parking lot, surely! Most likely a bird–and obviously in great distress.
I looked around, but the noise seemed to be coming from behind the car. I considered going back to my story and leaving the creature to solve its own problem, but it was such a piteous little scream. Surely I should at least get out and look.
I walked behind the car and looked around. At the edge of the gravelled area I saw something moving. A green frog was jumping up and down, but instead of going ahead, it was going backwards! And as it leaped up and fell back down, it made these little screaming sounds.
Curious, I walked closer and soon saw the cause of the frog’s distress. Mostly hidden in the grass at the edge of the parking lot was a garter snake with its mouth clamped firmly on one of the frog’s back legs.
They both had a problem. The snake wanted to swallow the frog, but if it opened its mouth wide enough, the frog would make a quick escape. Most of the frog was free, but ‘most’ meant nothing at this point. That one captured leg would bring his death and he knew it!
The snake was dragging it slowly back into the deeper grass. His aim was to drag the frog down into his hole, where he could kill it or fasten it so that it could not escape being swallowed. And the frog was screaming its terror for all the world to hear!
Then I came along.
Now, I know that nature is not always sweet. Snakes have to eat. But my heart was touched by the anguish of that little frog. I walked over to the scene of the crime, leaned over the snake and looked him in the eye. That’s all it took.
Snakes seem to have no fear. Instead of crawling away to hide, they rear up and prepare to do battle with an enemy, of whatever size. First they hiss a warning. And as this snake opened its mouth to hiss at me, the frog was set free. He quickly seized his opportunity and left for safer ground.
The Bible compares Satan to a serpent. Crafty, stealthy, wanting to destroy. He is not innocent in going about his business like real snakes, but like a real snake he is out to capture and to kill. If he can clamp his jaw on a young person’s leg or arm–or even a little finger–he can slowly draw them back farther and farther into the shadows, deeper and deeper into sin, where he can do a complete job of destroying them.
In one sense the frog was smarter than most people. When Satan gets his claws into us, we often content ourselves with the idea that we are almost free. He tells us, “Come along. We’ll have a great time!” We don’t sense that we are slowly being dragged backwards.
If ever he hands you that old “just this once” line, remember this little frog. Once the devil has his fangs clamped around even the smallest part of you, he will start dragging you down!
The good news is: if ever you find yourself caught by sins that are dragging you down, away from the path of light, remember that there is Someone who “can be touched by the feeling of our infirmities.” Don’t spend hours struggling to free yourself. When we cry out to Jesus and He shows Himself on our behalf, the devil has to let go!
Psalm 120:1 In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.