The Simple Way to Overcome Life's Fiery Serpents
The Wandering Israelites and the Fiery Serpents
Many of you are probably already familiar with the story of the Israelites and their experience with fiery serpents, but I will quickly summarize it here for those of you who need a refresher (This story can be found in Numbers 21:4-9).
After the Israelites were freed from bondage to the Egyptians, their hearts were hardened and God decided that they weren't ready to go to the promised land yet.
They spent 40 years wandering around in the wilderness, and during this time period they often complained about God and Moses because of the trials that they were experiencing.
Because of their hardened hearts and all of their complaining, God sent fiery serpents to the Israelites, and many people were bit and died.
Moses prayed to God for mercy and was instructed to make a fiery serpent and put it on a pole. He was told that anyone who looked at his serpent would live.
Moses created a brass serpent and everyone who looked at it did in fact live, but there were many who chose not to look who perished.
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi gives further insight into this account saying that, "because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished (1 Nephi 17:41).
The Symbolism Behind the Story
The fiery serpent that Moses held up in this story is symbolic of Jesus Christ.
Just like the Israelites had to look to the brass serpent to be healed from the lethal venom of the fiery serpents that surrounded them, those who look to Christ can be healed from the venom of sin, sorrow, pain and temptation of all forms.
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Alma testifies of Christ to the people of Gideon saying:
"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me. (Alma 7:11-13)
Prophets have testified of Christ's healing power from the very beginning of time. Isn't it interesting that there are so many people then and now that overlook(ed) the way to healing because of how truly simple it is?
What Kinds of Fiery Serpents Do You Face In Your Life?
We all are faced with fiery serpents in our lives. These serpents can come in all different forms. Some may be intimidating to us, and some may even seem to be attractive, but regardless of how they appear, their venom is deadly.
Sometimes we are bit by these fiery serpents because of choices we make, and other times they sneak up on us even when we are doing our best to protect ourselves from danger.
No matter the circumstances of how we come into contact with the lethal venom of these serpents, the important thing to remember is that there is a way prepared for us to be healed from it, a way so simple that it is often overlooked.
Do you ever feel like you are being attacked by metaphorical fiery serpents in life?
Personal Experience With Fiery Serpents and Simple Healing
Along with being a writer, I am also a substitute teacher at a junior high school. The past few months I took over teaching for a teacher who recently had a baby.
Most of her students were fantastic, but there were a handful of boys that were completely disrespectful and could best be described as vulgar.
I did the very best I could to keep their rudeness and vulgarity to a minimum in my classroom, but as a substitute teacher, I didn't really have much power to control the situation.
No matter how much I tried to keep things under control, these boys would still participate in conversations that were inappropriate for school, and were constantly vandalizing class materials by drawing inappropriate pictures.
In my attempts to make my classroom a pleasant environment for myself and the rest of the students in the class, I often had to talk to these boys about their actions and on many occasions ended up sending them out of the room completely.
As you may have guessed, these boys were not very excited about being kicked out of class on a regular basis. I ended up in a situation where I was being exposed to (and even often the target of) profanity and hateful words on a daily basis.
I tried to remember the old adage that, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," but in all honesty, I was really hurting.
Thankfully, I had an escape plan. In my mind, on the last day of school, when these kiddos walked out the door, everything would be better and all of the negativity that I had been dealing with for months would just melt away like a berm of dirty snow on the side of the road after the sun finally comes out.
I was counting down to the moment when I could send those kids on their way, and I could get back to being my light and happy self again, but my plan didn't work.
My students left, but somehow that negative feeling didn't melt away. The night of the last day of school, I was really feeling down. I felt like I had been poisoned and there was this thick syrup of negativity flowing through my veins that I couldn't free myself of.
That's when I just happened to open up my scriptures to the account of the Israelites and the fiery serpents and, a miracle happened.
The moment that I equated the feeling I was having to the venom of fiery serpents, and realized that all I needed to do was turn to Christ, I was overcome with a feeling of peace and calm.
Any trace of negativity that I had been experiencing was completely gone the instant that I turned my mind and heart over to Christ.
My Testimony of Christ's Healing Power
My testimony is quite simple.
I know for a fact that Christ is the source of all healing. The way is simple and can be easy to overlook, but when we turn to Christ, we can receive the healing that we need.
It doesn't matter whether you need healing from sins that you have committed or the sorrow and pain that are the effects of living in an imperfect world.
Christ understands you and loves you, and he will heal you. Even physical wounds can be healed through Christ if it is God's will, but this can only happen when we are willing to turn to Christ and put the situation in his hands.
I know this is true, and I encourage you to try it so that you can experience the type of healing that I have experienced over and over again in my life.
Remember, Christ said:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30)."