Researchers from the University of Florida during the past 10 years have found that something is eating up the small mammal population in the Everglades. Bobcats, rabbits and raccoons are vanishing. They now know the devouring culprit — pythons!
Somehow, someone has infiltrated the Everglades with pythons, a non-native species of the Everglades; snakes that are native exclusively to India, China and the Malay Peninsula. These invasive reptile monsters are often 20 feet long, weighing over 200 pounds. It takes a lot of mammals to fill the belly of such a snake.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is declaring war on these out-of-place imports for disturbing the fragile ecosystem of the Everglades.
From Jan. 12 to Feb. 12, there is an open season on pythons with an award of $1,500 for the most pythons and $1,000 for the longest python. We can be sure the bounty hunters are not going to be wading the Everglades in hip boots with a bow and arrow. High-tech swamp buggies and airboats ladened with heavy artillery will be crisscrossing and zooming over these treacherous and massive swamps. The thought of a possible free Florida vacation by going on this python hunt could only cross the mind of someone who has swamp equipment, education and experience.
Similarly, the devouring power of the raging reptile, Satan, the serpent of Hell, cannot be conquered except by those empowered by a divine presence through prayer.
“Watch and pray for the devil like a roaring lion goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him steadfast in the faith.” [Peter 5:8]
With most Americans declaring a dubious belief in a personal God, in the Bible as the word of God, in frequent prayer and worship, in loving everyone even enemies and in obedience to all Ten Commandments, the “roaring lion’s” success over a near-godless people is very apparent.
The words of Jesus resonate with us Americans, “Unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” [Mt. 17:17].
The special power needed to kill the pythons of the Everglades gives us a clear understanding of our need for God’s power to kill the serpent of Hell.
The Rev. John Burkhart Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of psychology