Hiss! Hiss! Hiss! Philip looked around. Yes, this time he could clearly hear the hissing sound coming from the pile of coconuts in the corner of the little room. That room was dark. As he looked through the small wooden window, he could see the green leaves of a creeper peeping in and a group of caterpillars crawling on the leaves. He wondered about the way the caterpillars walked—they seemed to have 100 legs. He wished he had legs like them. As he was looking at the caterpillars, amused, something cold touched his bare feet and at once he could see the tail of a black snake slowly disappearing under the pile of dry coconuts.
Philip was shocked! Stunned, a wave of fear spread over his brain; his knees grew weak, and he was about to collapse.
Little Philip is only six years old. He is a resident of our home. Every morning he dusts that storeroom with a piece of cloth. Above the pile of coconuts there is a closet where we store our Bibles, tracts, brochures and cassette tapes. It is a little closet with three shelves. Next to the wall we have two big boxes where we keep our clothes.
Oh! There was a big cry, and the next minute Philip ran to me and hugged me. He was shivering and sobbing. I could feel how fast his little heart was beating as he hugged me.
“What happened, Philip?” I asked him repeatedly, but his sobs swallowed up his answers. His eyes were filled with fear as he pointed toward the storeroom.
“S-s-snake,” he sobbed. “A snake with a black tail! It is (sob) under the pile of coconuts.”
“Might have come through the open window,” I mused.
“It is there, it has touched my feet.” He shivered at the memory.
Suddenly there was confusion and loud noise as all the residents came running, but none dared to enter the storeroom.
A black cobra! Oh, it is the most dangerous thing! There are many strange stories about cobras in India. If the hit is missed, the cobra returns and takes revenge.
Fifteen minutes have passed and nothing has been done. “Jesus, help us!” I murmured. Then came our pastor. He had a long, strong stick in his hand. He waved his hand and asked us not to shout.
“It is under the pile of coconuts.” We said.
The search continued for almost half an hour. We could hear different sounds coming from the storeroom. Running, disturbing, furniture being dragged, etc. At last there was a hitting sound.
“I found it Ma’am! It was in the closet under the papers, all coiled up!” He came out with a big black snake hanging like a rope over the stick. We all followed him outside. The children carefully piled up dry wood and palm leaves over the snake, and we set it on fire.
It is very hot outside, so no wonder the snakes, scorpions and centipedes want to take shelter in a cool place such as ours. But what would have happened if it had touched my little ones?
We watched the snake burn to ashes, and then I prayed, “Jesus, what a wonderful Saviour You are. Be it in a forest or a city, human life is in constant danger unless You protect and care for us. We cannot survive without You. I know You love the little ones. Thank you.”
As I opened my eyes, I could see the children looking at me with wet eyes. I took my Bible, and read, very meaningfully, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” Psalm 121.
That night as we all prepared to sleep on the floor, I could see everyone praying very fervently. Yes, it was a genuine plea for protection and a sincere offering of thanks and gratitude.