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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Sitting between His feet
Date Posted: May 15, 2016

Sometimes we react to a situation instinctively. We run in fear, or we swallow hard and stand our ground. One way or another, fear can actually be our friend by helping along a healthy reaction.

One beautiful morning I was drinking coffee and reading my bible, all was right with the world. My cat Scooter had just jumped from my lap to stretch, then he wandered to the sliding glass doors to bask in the sunshine behind the curtains. All was right with the world.

Engrossed with the Psalms, I forgot about him. Suddenly, there was such a commotion and scrabbling I jumped up from my chair. What was that? What was happening?

Scooter comes streaking out from behind the TV leaving the curtains flying in his wake. He was intent on getting away from something terrifying. He planted himself between my feet, his sides heaving in terror, and faced his demons from the safety of his Gigi's protection.

I couldn't imagine what it was, probably a huge dog, maybe another opossum had wandered up, so I went to see what it was. Scooter started yowling encouragement, or perhaps it was warnings; I haven't mastered Mau-ese even after loving cats my whole life.

Coming from behind the wood pile was a Queen snake to sun itself on my warm patio. The only thing separating that snake from Scooter was a thin piece of glass. No wonder he scrambled from there.

This snake was minding his own business, trying to warm up from the winter. I wasn't particularly happy he had chosen my patio to do this, and neither was Scooter. I sighed. I hate having to "take care" of snakes. But it’s necessary. What if they rise up and bite you when you step out of the house? But then, what if their mission is to take care of lounging rodents and roaches so they won't come into your house? What if they decide your home is the perfect place to hibernate, and you don't find them until Spring? ACK!

I went out the back door to the storeroom to get a hoe or rake to "take care" of this problem. When I stepped out the door, the snake had curled around the legs of the little table on the patio. He looked up at me and smiled. For him all was right with his world so he smiled. He smiled at me!

This was the same thing that had happened in Louisiana, and now I'm facing the same decision in Mississippi. In Louisiana, I killed the thing, but hated myself for it.

Mr. Queen Snake (I don't know if it was a he or a she!) lifted his head and was checking me out, then he smiled again. How can you kill something that smiles so sweetly at you? No, this was definitely a sweet smile, not evil or leering. Sweet. I have a huge problem killing anything other than spiders and mosquitoes, and of course, roaches. I just can't seem to get past that icky feeling; killing a thing that smiles is just beyond my scope of abilities. For all you hunters out there, I’m sure I would be able to kill for food! That is a matter of survival. Actually, this was a matter of survival, too: My friend the pest killer, non-poisonous, ridder of icky things survival.

Slowly, I backed away and went for a rake. I'd just make sure that snake passed right on through our yard and kept on going, but I just couldn't kill it. With rake in hand, I turned back to move it along and it was gone. He'd decided, quite wisely, that he'd best find another place to set up his sunbathing activity.

Sometimes we react to a challenge with reasonable fear, and sometimes we react with unreasonable fear, without thinking through the situation or checking facts. When we have absolutely no control over a potentially dangerous situation we should scoot between the LORD's feet, fully confident that God will handle it. He will determine if the situation is harmless or harmful; and He will remove the danger or carry us through it.

When we are in control of a situation, then we should stall the knee-jerk reactions and think it through. We should ask ourselves:

1. Is this trouble just passing through or something that will camp out here causing more and more trouble?

2. Should I take drastic measures, or use gentle persuasion?

3. What are the consequences of each action? (You know, if we’d all think through the answer to this question, I believe we’d have a lot less sin in the world. Just sayin’.)

4. What can I learn from this situation?

Question: Have you had a situation when you've wanted to act drastically but God has urged gentleness?

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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