Why Snakes?



Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known. (1 Corinthians 13:12, Common English Bible).

I know, late in the day and I am just now getting something posted. Well, sometimes there is just more to do than I have time to get done. Today is one of those days.

I hate snakes. I mean, I really hate snakes. Well, more accurately, I am afraid of snakes. When I was a kid I got bit and since then, I hate snakes and even worse, I have a great fear of them. I am so afraid of snakes I get scared when I see them on television. I know it is an irrational fear but I can’t help it. When a snake comes on television, I hide my eyes until it is gone.

Some time ago a devotion by one of my favorite Christian spiritual minds, Father Richard Rohr. Though I don’t read his devotions every day, I do read his work at least from time to time. I haven’t read much from him of late, but often what he has to say sticks with me.

I can’t remember the first time I heard someone say, “That is a question I will have for God when I get there.” I guess I have heard the question in some form or another most of my life. Further, I have actually made the statement myself, more than once. Probably my favorite of my own questions is, “God, why snakes?” It is a question I tend to ask when I have just seen a snakes. It shows my hatred and my fear of these awful animals.

I know, the snake question is pretty trivial. Still, others are not. Probably the most common question I have heard and I am sure I have asked it many times is some variation of the “Why God?” question. It is a question with many forms. “God, why do children die?” or “God, why is there suffering in the world?” or “God, why do I need to go to church?” or even, “God, why do I need to pray?” There are many, many more forms of the question and none are as trivial as my question about snakes or other people’s question about “Why bees?” or “why bugs.” etc. etc.

I have always believed it was OK to ask God questions, even the “Why?” questions. At the same time, however, there has also always been a small lingering doubt in the back of my mind. God made us inquisitive creatures. If we are made that way, surely God expects us to ask questions. Yet, there is still a bit of doubt, who am I to question God?

Then I read that devotion from Richard Rohr. Rohr really wasn’t writing about questioning God. It was about creation and being co-creators with God. I will share some of my thoughts on that in another post at a later time. What Rohr wrote, as always was good and insightful. But there were eleven words that really jumped off the screen at me, “I can’t wait to ask God why this seems to be…”

If a learned scholar like Richard Rohr would propose a question for God like, “I cannot wait to ask God why this seems to be…” It seems to me that it is probably OK for us to ask these questions of God too. I don’t think it necessarily means  we will get an answer, not now or even later, but we can ask questions of God.

When we do, we do so remember Paul’s words above, “…then I will know completely…” When we reach eternity with God, all our questions will have answers. Then we shall know. We might even get to know the answer to the trivial question, “God, why snakes?”

Have a blessed day (well, at this hour probably a blessed night) in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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