“But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.” – Acts 28:5
The context of this verse is when Paul was on his way to appear before Caesar and the crew of the ship on which he was sailing insisted on continuing in dangerous seas, despite Paul’s warning. All those aboard made it safely to shore when the ship was wrecked, and they were welcomed by the locals upon arrival. After that ordeal, as Paul was gathering wood to place on the fire, a viper latched onto his hand. Can you imagine the scene unfolding as the locals and the ship’s crew looked on in horror? Paul, in full faith that his Heavenly Father was holding him, calmly shook the snake from his hand into the fire, and carried on as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. The onlookers watched and waited for the toxic venom to take effect. Expecting any moment for the man before them to drop dead, I can only imagine the awe and wonder that was developing, as no harm nor ill effect inflicted Paul.
What this particular account of Paul’s journey provides for me is the reminder that what God has promised, He will be faithful to fulfill. Though storms and shipwrecks, snakes and strangers might happen between the promise and the fulfillment, God will always be true to His word. He equips us with strength to survive the storms and the resilience to dance in the rain. He reminds us of His redemption when our minds need renewing, and His grace grows our gumption to keep going.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are ALWAYS faithful to do as You say You will do. Thank You that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from Your love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) Forgive us for our faith that falters in the floods, and form in us a firm foundation of forever faith in You, that does not sway when the storms come. Teach us to trust You to be our safe harbor, and our heavenly hope that holds fast in our hearts. Heal the hurting and help our hope to be contagious. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present