Snakes in the Pond

Posted by on Sep 2, 2013 in Articles | 0 comments

We went to church camp every year when my brother and I were kids.  From the time I was twelve until I was 17, I eagerly anticipated the two weeks we would spend hiking through the woods, sleeping in cozy little cabins with kids from 5 or 6 other churches, roasting marshmallows, singing, praising and learning about the Lord.  It was a great revival for the Christian teenagers, and a time of salvation for the unsaved.  I loved every part of it.  Well, I guess I shouldn’t say ALL of it.  The year I was 15, I became terrified of the pond.  Or should I say, terrified of what dwelt in the pond.

 

I loved to swim.  There was an Olympic sized pool at the recreation center on the base where my family lived.  My friends Rhonda and Kim, and I would take a cab over every day we could just to swim in the pool.  So, it goes without saying that my favorite free-time activity at camp was swimming in the pond.  There were ledges to dive from, canoes to paddle, and 50 other kids at any given time to swim with.  (Pastor Conn’s son was the expert dunker, sure to come up behind you and plunge your head deep under the water!)  The docks extending out into the deep, dark waters were like obstacle courses with their supports jutting down into the thick Georgia clay.  The sun always shined bright, the water warm and relaxing.

 

The first day of camp the summer after I turned 15, twenty of us raced from our cabins, clad in our bathing suits and t-shirts (required church swimming attire), towels flying behind us like streamers at a parade.  We shouted, laughed and dove into the deepest, darkest part of the water.  Water splashed, towels flew, laughter could be heard throughout the camp.  That’s when I saw him, Greg, the Pastor’s son with that I’m-gonna-dunk-ya look in his eyes.  So, I plunged into the water, paddling my way under the dock, straining my eyes to see his blue bathing trunks and green t-shirt coming after me under the water.

 

I almost choked to death.  Surrounding me were hundreds (Okay, maybe an exaggeration, probably about 10) ugly, long black water snakes, looking mean and angry.  I have been terrified of snakes since I was 5 years old.  I couldn’t get out of the water fast enough.  I screamed and ran.  The other girls (and one boy!) jumped out of the water, screaming and running in every direction.  I thought I would die, my heart pounding so hard in my chest I could feel it in my head.  I spent the rest of the day watching every step I took, checking every bush and patch of grass for the predators who were certainly trying to drown me in the pond.

 

I didn’t swim in the pond for the rest of camp – that summer or any of the summers to follow.  I was happy to be on the shore, sitting in a chair with my feet tucked under me, my Bible or a book in my hand, listening to and watching the other swimmers.  I missed the fun I always had, envying every splash of water.  But, I couldn’t chance those serpents remembering me from that nightmarish day when I invaded their hide out.  Looking back now, I wish I hadn’t let that rare, snake-infested moment ruin 3 years worth of summer camp swimming.

 

Summer camp isn’t the only place “snakes” frighten us.  Divorce can terrify some from marriage, failure terrifies from trying, rejection from approaching people.  We can allow the difficult happenings in our lives to overcome us, to keep us from the life God would have us to live.  Christ tells us in Luke 10:19 that He “has given us the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”  Through the Power of the Lord, nothing the enemy sends our way can prosper.  Through Him, we can swim in the pond and not worry about the snakes!

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