Gaboon Viper in fallen leaves


One of my favorite places in the world is the Sedgwick County Zoo. It’s one of the top ten zoos in the country, and they have all sorts of awesome exhibits. Among them is the reptile and amphibian house, previously called The Herpeterium when I was a child. It’s full of incredible displays and animals who are so well camouflaged it takes a long time to spot them.
But the one that freaks me out every time is the Gaboon Viper. Can you see it in this picture? This isn’t a good photo. It’s blurry. But you get the point. This sucker is hard to see, and I can understand how someone can step on it unsuspectingly, especially since it takes to hiding in fallen leaves.
Gaboon Viper in fallen leaves

Gaboon Viper in fallen leaves - Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

I’m not trying to be irreverent, but many times in my life, I feel like God has camouflaged Himself, much like this snake has. This snake settles down in a pile of leaves because he knows he can hide there without being seen. And there are days when I really feel that’s what God is doing.
I feel like He’s hidden Himself so deep in His plans for my life that I can’t see where He is or where He’s going. Not that I need to know. But knowing where He is helps me to remember that He really is doing something.
Today’s verse is Deuteronomy 4:29.
But from there you will search again for the LORD your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.
It’s easy for us to find God, honestly. If you open your eyes, He’s everywhere and evidence of Him everywhere. But what do you do when you can’t see Him? Do you give up?
Well, how satisfying is a trip to the Reptile and Amphibian house if you don’t try to find the animals buried in the leaves and bushes and hidden in the trees? It’s not much of a trip at all. It’s just wandering around in a humid building that smells like swamp.
The thing is about God, if you genuinely look for Him, you’ll find Him. Sometimes in the reptile house, the keepers have removed an animal from its exhibit. So even if you spend hours searching for it, you won’t find it. Because it’s not there. But God doesn’t work that way. He’s always there. And if we lose sight of Him, most of the time that means we’re looking in the wrong direction.
I’m not saying that He is always easy to find, but sometimes you have to trust what you know instead of what you feel. And I’m not saying that He always steps out of the room to teach us a lesson. That’s not what I’m saying at all.
But too often I find myself frustrated with Him because I can’t see Him, and then I realize that He’s been standing right beside me all along and I’ve just been running around too busy to notice. And what I have learned is that the problem is never with Him; it’s with me.
So the next time you lose sight of God, look for Him. Don’t just glance into the exhibit. Really look for Him. Talk to people who are walking with Him. Read stories about what God is doing around the world. And look into your heart and your motivations and your life and check to see if you’re really looking as hard as you think you are.
Because God made camouflage to help His creations survive. It’s not something He uses to hide from us.