Yes there is great danger all around us here, yet we barely notice it. What a miracle of divine grace!
Many many times we have walked right in the pathway of venomous snakes.
Obviously these snakes BletJaw has already killed or else I would not get so close with my camera. Some of the bigger worse snakes have gotten away, or I have not had a chance to take a picture.
One day BletJaw was clearing out some banana trees right next to our house. He called me to come and see what two things he had just killed. There was a short but fat, slimy looking brown snake with yellow streaks down both sides. Because it was not scaley I thought it looked like a glorified earthworm. It must not be poisonous I thought. DJ’s wife came over just then and told us that this snake does not often bite people, but if it does – you die! BletJaw’s angel protected him that day. He only wore flip flops!
The other thing that BletJaw killed looked like something out of a horror movie. It was a glorified centipede only with fewer legs. I call it a scorpiopede. Americans do not have a name for them because they are not found in America, but the Karen call them ‘DahBau.’ Their legs look like iron rods ending in sharp points. They have a wicked pair of pinchers and grow to about 12 inches long! Wow! It really does look hideous, like the way the Bible depicts the 4th beast of Daniel 7:7. I am told that when they bite you it hurts much worse than a scorpion sting. The harmful effect could bring you to the hospital, depending on where it bites, and the age of the person bitten.
The pit viper is quite a popular variety of venomous creatures here. Many times we have walked right over them, under them or beside them. I do not even see them because they are so well camouflaged. BletJaw usually walks in front and is quick to see and kill! This one bright green variety likes to hide in the tree branches or inside the bamboo fencing which is usually eye level!
I used to innocently think that the elephants around here were perfectly harmless. We have petted a few and stood next to many as they passed by pulling heavy loads. The elephant handlers look perfectly relaxed and perch high upon its neck, kicking and swating with a stick when the beast walks too slow.
I know better now! Any elephant is potentially dangerous all the time especially when it is not being used. They have an oil gland on the side of their face that at any time can secrete oil that drips down. Here we call it “ThoLaw.” When this happens they go wild, charge, stampede, and run like the wind!
Just beyond MeDooGlow the forest service department keeps a few very large, wild male elephants. I first heard that one wild elephant had broken loose in the beginning of August. It was mating season and he had gone mad, broken loose from his chains, and stampeded to our section of the jungle because there were several female elephants in some of these villages. This had not happened for several years. The people were terrified. We heard stories of how a woman and her son had been trampled to death along with several others in the past.
At first there were 8 elephants in all that were terrorizing people near the big pagoda which is the way we have to go to MaeSalit. Every time we planned to go in that direction by motorbike, someone had just seen them right on the road where we would travel. The truck is no safer than the motorbike. But it is rainy season so only the motorbike can make it. One man from WahSueTah was driving his motorbike near the pagoda one morning. When he rounded a corner, right in front of him were 3 very large elephants, one of them started towards him! The poor man was so frightened that he leaped off his moving motorbike and ran for dear life. Now if an elephant wants to catch you, he can. Big as they are, they can move astoundingly fast. The man survived, but thought his bike must be flattened. When he finally got enough courage to return to his bike it was unharmed. That very day we also needed to travel that way. All we saw was big piles of fresh dung on the road.
This mating season lasted from August to the beginning of November!! During the month of October, three more wild male elephants joined the group of crazed animals. Now it seems there are 13 in all. The pastor was so frightened to travel home on his motorbike that he waited for us to go also. I don’t know what we could have done to help against all those humongous maniac beasts, but we do know how to be instant in prayer and trust in God who is much bigger than a herd of elephants!
Another threat to life here are small insects and ticks which cause all kinds of life threatening diseases. I will never forget the scrub typhus that took me out of action for some time. Something else bit me one day recently and I was in agony for 2 weeks, when the pain left there was an itch that was so intense it caused pain. Try riding on the back of a motorbike to villages in that condition!!
Soldiers in this area are also something to beware of. I must not divulge any more information on this topic while I am here, but we must exercise much caution.
I seem unable to dredge up even one once of fear for all the things listed above. The Lord has miraculously saved me from so many things in the past that I would be absolutely denying God to walk around in fear; even though I am careful. And as for those elephants: If it is God’s will for my life to end under the weight of an elephant, then that’s the way I want to go. But if it is not His will, 1000 elephants cannot touch me!
I am reminded of God’s Words in Luke 12:4,5 “I say unto you My friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you who ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, fear him.”
So here is our great danger. We have been forewarned by God what to fear! It is not, beast, reptile, soldier or any other creature that we are told to fear – it is yourself, your thoughts, situations, or people that get you to take your eyes off of Jesus. The prince of the power of the air is intensely and desperately trying to do just that to each one of us in these last days.
Human beings today have it all turned around, much like the Pharisees long ago that were all caught up in ceremonies and rituals and not the real significance of the sanctuary service. Just like the Jews that looked for Jesus to set up and earthly kingdom. We think that is ridiculous. They totally missed the point of these things when it was so obvious. But think about it, we are doing the same treacherous thing, fearing tangible things, fearing for our safety, fearing the dark, fearing the future, fearing this and that, when all the while the devil is bringing worldliness and compromise to us through situations, friends and acquaintances. He brings doubt, discouragement, riches, popularity and thousands of other things to knock us off the narrow way. He brings the cares of this world, and a hectic fast paced lifestyle that makes us rush around continuously with no time to spend “ A thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ.” DA 83
These, dear friends are the things to be truly petrified of!! These are the things that will destroy us eternally. Let’s put fear where it really belongs!
Don’t forget Philippians 2:12 “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”