The Alligator in the Ditch - A Dose of Encouragement

You know when you are going somewhere different and you really know nothing about the place.

Then suddenly shortly before you travel you see a programme on television, or you read something in a book, or a friend says "did you know..." or you see something on the internet and it's about the place you are going to travel to.

Well that is what happened to me when I knew that I would be flying from Northern Ireland to the US to meet up with my husband after a work conference he was at in Hilton Head.

Way back nearly 30 years ago.

I was to meet Fred in Jacksonville, Florida and we were going to visit a few places in that well-known state.

Now getting to meet Fred was not the straightforward task it should have been but that might be written about another time.

Even our first night in Florida was not at all what we expected so that might be in another story too.

But for this blog post I'm thinking about the alligator.

So back to what I was saying previously.
Shortly before the trip I saw a programme on the television about alligators in Florida and thought I would watch a little bit of it because we were going to Florida and we were going to go to the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine.

This programme was not about alligators that are kept on farms or even in the swamps, instead this was about the fact that alligators can be found in other strange (for wild animal sightings) places like back gardens and roadside ditches.

Fred had not seen this so when we set off in the hire car the day after we arrived in Jacksonville I started to tell him all about it and I said we needed to watch out for these large drainage ditches at the side of the road and we might see an alligator.

Well one of the first places we visited was that Alligator Farm in St. Augustine and that was nearly too close to alligators for me and I really did not like the thought of being near one when I did not have a large, strong fence between us.

Well a live one that is because I do love the sculpted alligators in the Musical Animal Fountain in Tervuren.

Having spent almost a week in Florida I was still always keeping an eye on these ditches as we drove along but never really expected to see anything.  Then as we were driving towards the Kennedy Space Centre we saw a car stopped at the side of the road and two people out standing with a camera pointed towards a ditch.

Well we slowed down to see and

YES!  An alligator was in the ditch!

We pulled over for a minute had a quick look and then drove off again wondering why that couple were standing there with a camera.

The simple answer is - they wanted to take a picture of the alligator at the side of the road but obviously they had never seen the programme I had seen because if they had they would have known how fast an alligator can move and if that alligator darted towards them suddenly they may not make it back to the car in time.

Now I was thinking that even if I had not seen that programme I still would have had enough respect for the animal (insert - enough fear!) not to get so close and certainly not to stand focusing to get a good picture.

 Well except if it was a baby alligator being held by a keeper at the farm.

But I certainly would have no intention of putting myself in the position where I might have been chased or attacked by an alligator because I could not have wrestled one and overcome it.

As Christians we should know to treat sin in the same way as we should treat an alligator:

stay away from it.

Let's treat sin like we would treat an alligator!

Even if we have not been specifically told exactly how quickly sin can grab a hold of us and conquer us, regardless of how long or strongly we may try to wrestle with it; we should by instinct know that it is wrong to stop and have a look at the sin or spend a little time trying to capture what that sin is really like.  

We should curb our curiosity.

Sin is our enemy, sin is something that Jesus has died to release us from and we must not be tempted to even have a look toward it because we don't want to be back in the grasp we have been freed from.

It is our choice.

Is there an Alligator lurking in the Ditch?

We can remember and be encouraged that even though we cannot overcome sin by ourselves; 

we can do so with God's help.

We need to hold unto the fact that Jesus set us free from that grip sin had of us and He wants to help us stay free.

Jesus says He will be with us forever and while He is with us He is going to help us against sin.

Let's allow Christ to help us, to give us His strength to turn away from sin as soon as we recognize it.

So just as we were sensible enough to stay in the car when we were near that alligator we all know that we can stay in the safety of Jesus when we see that sin lurking nearby.


  1. I'm dying to go to the Everglades and go to the Mikusuki (sp) reservation and touch the alligators. I love dangerous animals! Great encouragement by the way!

    1. Oh no I couldn't touch them Zarina, but I hope you get to the Everglades and thanks for dropping in.

  2. Sandra,
    Wonderful story and point well taken about alligators and sin. Thanks.

  3. OMG I would have panicked. I think they're the ultimate predators. So much like sins! You're so right about that.

    1. If I had been out of the car like those others I would have panicked too Lux.

  4. Yes, sin is like an alligator in the ditch, isn't it. I enjoyed your story and the way you used it as an illustration. Linking with you at Testimony Tuesday. So nice to visit your lovely site again.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement Ginger, I enjoy Testimony Tuesday too.

  5. What a great story! Once, years ago, my husband and I lived in north Florida for about a year. We rented a house on a lake, where beautiful birds flew all around, and we were the first house on the street, so right next to our house, close to the lake, was a sign that said "Beware of Alligators". They would come up on the bank of the lake, and sun themselves during the day. You couldn't see them very well at all, but you could hear them moving around in the grass of the vacant lot next door. Very scary! One day, I had the windows open, but there were screens in the windows. Our blond labrador retriever got excited about the birds. He dove through the window, knocking the screen out, and swam half way across the lake. There was nothing I could do, but go to the edge of the water, and beg and plead with him to come back, all the while tears are running down my face. I was so sure he would be pulled under any second, but thankfully, he finally turned around and came back unscathed. I have never looked at alligators with anything other than fear and scary respect for what they can do. Never underestimate an alligator.

    1. Teri I think you were very brave to stay there. I could not have done that.

  6. Great post, Sandra! and a great warning to deny even the temptation to look toward sin with interest. Have a great weekend.

    1. Indeed you are right June no even looking at it. Amen

  7. Great story and comparison, Sandra! I think if many of us treated sin like an alligator, we most definitely would not go near or touch it. Thanks for sharing. Blessings from #bloggercaregroup

    1. Yes Kelly we would stay as far away as possible and run quick.

  8. Alligators now have a brand new meaning for me, great lesson.

  9. What a fantastic analogy of sin, Sandra. Thanks for the new perspective. #BloggerCareGroup


  10. So true Sandra!! We don't treat sin as a danger.

  11. What an awesome story about your trip and the alligators and your illustration of sin. Yes, sin is not something to play with or it might catch a good hold on you before you know it. Thanks for sharing at Tell me a Story.

  12. That's quite a story :) Good analogy about keeping away from sin. What a wonderful thing to know that God is always with us and will give us the strength to resist. But even more wonderful is that when we give in to sin, He is ready and willing to forgive and put us back on the right path. I'm visiting from Coffee for your Heart.

  13. cannot overcome sin by ourselves; we can do so with God's help. - I love this!

    I grew up in Georgia and had family who lived in the southern part of the state near the Okefenokee Swamp, they would have alligators in their yard when we would visit. We learned quickly to stay away from them. Thanks for linking up with Thankful Thursdays.

  14. Hi Sandra! My parents lived in Florida in the winters, and were avid golfers. They would often see alligators on the golf course. Yikes! I would quit that game for sure!

    Treating sin like an alligator is a great comparison. Both are dangerous and move fast. I appreciate the picture you made in my mind, and I'm going to try and stay away from all of that!
    Your neighbor at #RaRa Linkup,

  15. This so reminds me of a story I read about in a book by Daisy Hepburn. The story was about an alligator in the bathtub, dealing with life's surprises.
    I like the sin and gators. The death spirals that gators do makes me think how sin pulls us down. Thanks neighbor at Everyday Jesus.

  16. Sandra,

    You had me at wanting to see an alligator. My husband and I drove down to the gulf coast of Mississippi to participate in a mission trip after hurricane Katrina and I told him I was hoping we might get to see an alligator. The only gators we saw were the big tire scraps that fall off of semi's on the freeway. It's probably just as well, because I'm sure I would've been tempted to have him stop so I could take a picture.

    What a great analogy! I would've been so single-minded in getting the picture I wouldn't have recognized the danger. Partly because I've never been very close to a real alligator. How many people 'hang out' with sin, because they don't really recognize it when they see it? How many are single-minded and don't recognize the danger of being so close? Both cases can truly be catastrophic.

    I'm glad you are my neighbor today at Everyday Jesus.

  17. Amen to staying away from alligators and sin! I love the alligator story but even more so how you connected us to the lesson of being aware of sin. Great connection and encouragement for all of us. Thank you for sharing this at Weekend Whispers.

  18. I enjoyed your metaphor of the alligator. :) humorous yet powerful example. :)


  19. Great story. We see them all the time here on the Alabama Gulf Coast. But when you're in a kayak, you don't want to stay where they are. I never knew I could paddle so fast in my life!

  20. Great post!

    Your story reminds me of my childhood family trip to Myrtle Beach! We were there during the tail-end of a hurricane, and had wanted to venture out to this reserve that was filled with ruins everywhere. Because of the hurricane, there had been a lot of flooding, which meant alligators were wandering up onto the boardwalks and roadways. It was fun, but it was scary; particularly when we came across an alligator that was very, very near to us! To this day, I can't go near an alligator pit at the zoo without my heart beginning to race and the recollection of my dad saying "back away slowly and don't take your eyes off it!"