by Jean Wilund
India had a cobra problem. As in – they had way too many cobras.
Fortunately, they also had a solution. If only they had stopped to think through their solution.
How Much is That Cobra In the Window?
India’s government created an ingenious plan to control their cobra invasion. They’d enlist citizens as cobra wranglers.
Of course, cobra wrangling isn’t like wrangling puppies. Catching cobras is more like catching knives.
So the government had to entice people into taking the risk. Money often makes people bold, so they offered to buy any cobras they caught.
The public responded, and the wild cobra population sustained an impressive hit.
As the cobras became harder to find, entrepreneurial-minded miscreants fixed the supply problem. They bred cobras and sold them to the government as “captured cobras.”
When officials discovered the ruse, they repealed the buy-back plan.
Ha! Take that, you unethical scoundrels.
But once the demand for cobras dried up, the breeders released their supply. Into the wild.
Once again, India had a cobra problem. An even bigger cobra problem.
But that wasn’t the worst decision ever made.
I hate to admit it, but I’ve had my share of did-you-even-stop-to-think-it-through moments, and I’ve suffered unintentional consequences that still make my skin crawl.
This tendency not to think things through isn’t new. It started most likely with Satan.
Ages ago Satan served God as His worship leader. He passed the angels’ praises up to God.
But then Satan grew proud and thought, “I should be praised!”
Apparently, he thought it better to be God’s enemy than His friend. So he formed a plan to overthrow God.
Overthrow God Almighty?
Satan launched his ill-conceived plan and failed miserably. The unintentional consequences of his rebellion made things worse for himself.
To Satan’s great humiliation, he went from being God’s willing servant to being His unwilling slave.
The Bible tells us the apostle Paul also faced a situation he didn’t like. He’d received a thorn in his side — “a messenger from Satan.”
We don’t know what it was, but we know Paul devised a plan to get rid of it.
Paul asked God three times to take the thorn away. Each time God refused. Paul then rethought his plan.
Rather than interpret the thorn as a curse he needed God to take away, he finally accepted that it was actually a gift from God to keep him humble.
Through the thorn, Paul discovered God’s grace was sufficient.
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning2 Corinthians 12:7-9
thisI implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.
We may not always understand why God allows evil to happen, but we can always know His thoughts and decisions are perfect.
Everything God is and everything God does is perfect. Nothing can stop His hand or His works.
Even when mankind acts without considering the potential and grievous consequences — or Satan attacks with his insidious plans — we can trust God.
We only need to remember Satan and the truth that God is even able to use Satan’s evil intentions and man’s atrocities to serve His good purposes.
Long before Satan’s rebellion ever entered his mind, God had planned to use it as part of His glorious plan to redeem man — who He hadn’t even created yet.
It’s easy to prefer God just stop all evil right now and forever.
He will one day, but not today.
And it’s easy to second guess what God does and allows.
If I were God, I’d never . . .
The truth is, if we knew what God knows, we’d do what God does.
Every time. We can trust Him.
Are You Cobra Wrangling?
Does your life currently feel like you’re wrangling cobras? And losing?
Are you facing your worst nightmare?
Perhaps the painful realization that you didn’t think through the consequences of your actions just slapped you in the face.
If this is you, I can’t promise God will turn back time and fix your situation. But I can tell you God is faithful. And I can tell you that God is always true to His nature — His glorious nature.
If you belong to Him, He will never leave you.
If you need to repent of your decisions, do it. Now. He loves to forgive.
If you’re suffering due to someone else’s decisions, remember that God used Satan’s evil to serve His good purposes for our good and His glory. He can use their evil, too.
You can trust God. Lean on Him and follow Him.
He is your strength.
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:10
Paul knew this truth. He trusted in it.
Satan knew it, too, but he chose to rebel against God and suffer the unintentional consequences.
What will you choose?
Think it through carefully.
Unintentional consequences can be a bear – or, in some cases, a cobra.