Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snake Bite

As some of you know I don't have access to the Internet all the time and have to come down to my friend Andy's offices in Melkbos in order to be able to blog. Well the weekends are a bit of a problem and so on Mondays I spend a lot of time catching up on all your posts since it seems to me that is when a lot of blogging happens. Well over the past few days not only have I been trying to catch up but I've been making some desks for Andy at his home because they will be doing alterations to his office block soon and they will be working from his house for a while. Well with all that happening I've not had time to write anything but today is Wednesday and I've decided to leave off reading for a while and write a new post, so here goes.

Snakes are amazing things, they have no legs and yet they move faster over land than any other creature I can think of that has no legs ( at the moment all I can think of is a slug). They are cold blooded and need to warm up in the sun before they can get active so come winter they go into a hibernation state but not like a bear in that they do still come out when disturbed but are very slow. Not all of them are poisonous to humans but those that are are very very poisonous. Some of them have front fangs such as the cobra and adders, these are the ones that kill people, those that are back fanged such as the mole snake cannot get their fangs into you and are less dangerous more like a dog bite. There are also two types of poison they employ namely Neurotoxin which affects your nervous system and causes your heart to stop or phytotoxin which eats away your flesh by causing it to rot. neither of these types of bite are very pleasant though, kinda scary actually. On the farm where I stay we have lots of snakes as can be imagined ( they tend to keep away from towns and cities and stick to more open country). We all seem to have an inbuilt aversion to snakes even myself, who catches them, if while walking through a field happen to come across a mole snake unexpectedly and even though I recognise it as harmless, will get a shock and jump away with racing pulse.
Now here's an interesting thought, do you know anyone that has died in a car accident or someone who has committed suicide, or been shot, or fallen off a mountain and so on and so on?  Now how many people can you think of have been bitten by a snake if any?  Now you know at least one, Geoff Maritz was bitten by a Cape Cobra in Melkbos South Africa. Let me tell you about it:
About two years ago I was on my knees talking to the Lord. to say that I was at one of those low points of my life would be an understatement, I, as sometimes happens to us, felt that God had given up on me. At some point I said to the Lord "I know that you do not love me and that I'm not one of your children so Lord I humbly accept into my heart that you hate me." My soul was in turmoil and there were so many things going wrong in my life that I had given up on myself completely, I was unlovable and that was that.
Anyway the next day I was bumbling around the farm when one of the ladies from the restaurant next door came to call me telling me there was a snake and I must come and catch it. I grabbed a broom, my catching tool of choice and rushed next door. Under one of the log benches in the children's play area was a small (about 450mm) Cape Cobra. In the process of catching it, with all the confusion generated by a whole bunch of women screaming instructions, I didn't get a good grip on it's head and it managed to twist around and sink one tooth into my index finger. Ouch.

I started praying immediately and asking Jesus to keep me safe, I had already forgotten what had transpired the night before. now I had a problem, in my hand I had a venomous snake, I was bleeding and had to get rid of this snake and get to a doctor as fast as possible. The only thing I could think to do was run as fast as possible away from the buildings and ditch the snake in the veld. One thing we are told not to do when bitten by a snake is run but I had to get rid of it and fast so I ran anyway which of course increases the heart rate, not a good idea, and speeds up the spread of the poison in the body. Once I had gotten rid of the snake I ran back to the restaurant ant told them I had been bitten. They were not happy with me and according to the owners I was causing them a major inconvenience, go figure. Anyway I was taken firstly to the pharmacy but they had no anti-venom and so off to the local doctor but they didn't have any either and so off to Blaauwberg hospital. By now about an hour and a half had passed since being bitten. With a Cape Cobra bite, unless anti-venom is administered immediately, life expectancy is 30 minutes, that's how poisonous these things are. Blaauwberg Hospital could not help me because I have no medical insurance and I was told I would have to go to Sommerset Hospital in Sea point on the other side of Cape Town so an ambulance was summoned to come and fetch me which eventually arrived about 3 hours later and transported me to Sommerset Hospital. I know, a commedy of errors. ,
By now the pain in my right arm and across my chest was quite severe but not unbearable. The doctor eventually saw me 14 hours after the bite and the only thing she said was "If you are not dead by now, chances are you aren't going to die just yet."  She gave me some sort of injection to ease the pain, which made me very sleepy, and assigned one of those beds on wheels to me. When I woke up in the morning the pain had gone and to my surprise I was still alive, a bit woozy but still alive.
There are a number of things I learned from this experience:
There is a scripture (Proverbs, I think) that says "If the snake bites before it is charmed, the charmer looses his fee." I had been bitten, not good.
I learned that it is stupid to give up holding the Love of God in your heart thus coming out from under his protection.
I learned that God cares for me even when I say stupid things and stop believing in him and will come to my aid even to the very doors of Sheol. He is so faithful.
It must be remembered that at this particular stage of my life I was having serious trouble with my faith but even though I was struggling He was using me anyway.
When I eventually got back to the farm I went next door to the restaurant to let them know I was back in one piece. I handed Diana, the owner, my Bible opened to Psalm 91verse13-16 which states:
 "You shall step on asp and cobra,
you shall tread safely on snake and serpent.
Because his love is set on me, I will deliver
I will lift him beyond danger, for he knows
me by name.
When he calls upon me, I will answer;
I will be with him in time of trouble;
I will rescue him and bring him to honour.
I will satisfy him with long life
to enjoy the fullness of my salvation.
As you can imagine this made a huge impact on her and from then they all started viewing me a little differently.
Anyway I'm still alive and now know just how much God loves me.
Thank you Lord, my love really is set on you.


  1. A wonderful story and tribute to God's unconditional love for us. Your actions also brought faith to some that needed confirmation of the ways of the Lord.

    I am so afraid of snakes and am astonished at your bravery with them.

    Thank you too, for your kind and thoughtful words that you leave whenever you have the time to stop by my posts.

  2. One thing I don't like is snakes.I am terrified of them. To be bitten would be so terrible!! I am so glad to know are alright and that our God protected you. He never leaves nor forsakes, no matter how we feel.It just proves, we cannot go by our feelings. God Bless. Crystl Mary.

  3. Quite an amazing story Geoff! God certainly was watching over you that day. I don't think it is unnatural for us to doubt our faith from time to time. The Lord knows that we are all sinners, he has already forgiven us. So all we can do is try really hard to be good and loving people. Apparently he wasn't done with you yet!
    Snakes don't scare me a bit. I once picked up a garden snake and chased my son's father-in-law around the yard with it! It's quite funny seeing a grown, tough, hunter, run screaming like a baby!
    Now if you are thinking that this wasn't a very christian thing to do, you are probably right. But that's what happens when you start making fun of the "Fairer" sex! Love Di ♥

  4. I am not at all fond of snakes and avoid them. You were fortunate in your encounter and God's hand of protection was over you for sure. There are certain church sects that do snake handling as part of their service, but I believe they are testing God and we are told not to do that.

    Tossing It Out

  5. Geoff A beautiful testimony to our Father and the power of His love for His children.Our journey isn't over till He says it is, no matter what the circumstance look like. Your bravery was amazing I would have died fom a Heart-attack, snakes Yikes. Power of prayer and the strength of our walk and belief is so pivitol to how our journey turns out. God Bless have a safe and wonderful weekend, May God continue to hold you in His loving embrace...Patricia

  6. Thanks for the enlightening post! How do you feel about snakes that are set free in places where it is not its natural environment? They get to be SO big because the ecosystem is not set up for it's arrival. Just thinking...

    ♥.•*¨ Elizabeth ¨*•.♥

  7. I am glad you recovered from your snake bite, Geoff. I hate snakes, can't stand to look at them. Once,I accidently stepped on a Bull snake (not poisonous) and it hissed at me! It was like stepping on a rubber garden hose--- I hated the feeling. Just thinking about a snake almost makes me puke. You had a very real, personal and true testimony to share with that woman--there was no way she could refute what had happened to you.

  8. One Woman's Thoughts;
    I've been catching snakes since my teen years. In this country there are people who do this for a living (I'm not one of them). When someone finds a snake in their garden they call these people to remove them, at a cost obviously. Normally about $100.00. Maybe I should consider doing that, ha.ha.
    Crystal Mary;
    You are not the only one. Yes feelings can really make our lives miserable, the Lord tells us to have faith and not to rely on our own understanding. I know just what he means.
    You are one of a very few. Hey I like making fun of the "fairer' sex Ha, Ha, Ha.
    I'm certainly not putting the Lord to the test, just getting rid of a problem that's all. I believe that snakes are doing exactly what we are doing, just trying to survive. I hate seeing snakes beaten to death just for being born a snake. They will not do you any harm if you just leave them alone and allow them to go.
    Keep walking, no I'm still here and telling of the amazing power of God to people all over the world.
    I have left a comment on your post "Audition". Thanks for your visit.
    God calls us witnesses. How could she possibly doubt when she was involved?

    There is something that happened at the hospital that is the subject of my next post. If you think surviving a snake bite is awesome you should read what happened while I was waiting for treatment. Her name was Nora and she is now with the Lord.
    God bless you my friends and may He keep you all safe from anything that could possibly harm you. Love Geoff.