In my congregation I have a good many senior adults, and the majority of them are vibrant, sharp, fully embracing life! A couple of my older ladies, far from being defenseless, are actually a pair of rattlesnake wranglers! This past Monday, Mantha called her former deacon and left a message that she had a BIG snake in her yard. When he called back an hour and a half later, she told him that she and her friend Peggy had taken care of it! She had called Peggy who made the 20 minute drive to Mantha’s while Mantha held the snake at bay with a stick, not wanting to let it back in the woods.
Peggy brought her double-edge axe, an axe that had beheaded many a serpent…she has had more than her share of reptile invasions when she lived in the country. With one strike, the snake was dealt a fatal blow. I called Peggy to tell her that I had heard about her heroism, and she dismissed it saying she had killed more than her share of snakes. I asked her, "How many strikes did it take?" She said, "One...that's all you get...one strike."
This whole episode reminded me of something these two wonderful saints have in common. They have a tough faith. Both had had more than share of heartache including the loss of children and husbands. Still, they have not let life rob them of their joy or faith. Their faith is not some wimpy, pie-in-the-sky thinking happy thoughts kind of faith. No, their faiths have been tried again and again in the valleys of adversity, and have come out stronger. No wonder they can take on a rattlesnake with no fear; compared to what they’ve experienced, it might as well have been an earthworm.
I am reminded of Hebrews 13: 6 So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Mantha and Peggy have the same confidence, and it shows! Oh, and the next time you are threatened by a rattlesnake, call Peggy!