By now you’ve probably heard about the snake handling pastor that died from a snake bite. I don’t watch TV or read newspapers, but online headlines catch even my attention. Wonders never cease!
Wonders of nature, that is. I’ll just cut to the chase: if you handle poisonous snakes, it is likely that you will be bit, and even more likely that you may die, especially if you’ve been bitten before, and are not treated with an antidote. So why tempt nature?
Snake handling has it’s roots in the holiness movement. It’s not mainstream, and those who practice take a few verses from the Bible and apply them literally to their practice.
And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” ~ Mark 16:17-18
See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. ~ Luke 10:19
While proof-texting is not the way in which to read or apply the passages of scripture, there are those who take the Bible literally. But even those in the literal camp, do not ascribe to snake handling. And even snake handlers will seek medical treatment for other ailments. I know. Crazy.
Here’s the deal. Snake handling and other nature-defying signs and wonders aren’t what draw people to faith. Changing the laws of nature won’t change the mind of someone who thinks religion is bogus. And those whose lives are changed because of faith, are not changed because someone the pastor survived a snake bite…this time.
I hate snakes and certainly consider anything to do with them outside the scope of all sanity. It’s not a sign and wonder I care to observe and refuse to consider. On the other hand, I have seen the signs and wonders of a transformed life, that others have refused to consider. As with beauty, it’s all in the eye – and heart – of the beholder.