Lessons from a Spider
Modern Day Parables
If I pay close attention, sometimes a parable is revealed to me during my prayer-time. Like today, for instance.
I’m reading a book about prayer and while studying this morning a strange thing happened. I love my porch, especially in the spring, so I love to read and have my coffee out there most mornings. I had actually been reading for hours, when I remembered that I’d not fed my dog yet. I looked down at her sitting beside me and noticed a black spider nesting on her ear. My initial reaction was just to get it off of my baby girl, so I thumped it off of her ear. Then I groaned with the thought that now the thing is somewhere close to me. I hate spiders.
Dismissing the fear and concentrating on the proper care and feeding of my pet, we left the porch and went inside to take our meds, fill the drink well and have our breakfast.
When we returned to our spot on the porch, I continued reading and didn’t think about the spider until I felt something crawling on the underside of my leg. I swatted at it and kept reading. A few minutes later I felt something on the top of my leg and low and behold, it was the same ugly spider. Persistent little devil, interrupting my prayer-time!
This time, I didn’t hesitate. I smashed the thing on my leg. Blood and guts all over my thigh. As I cleaned its’ carcass off my skin, I started to wonder about the creature. Was it a black widow? If so, did she eat her mate for breakfast? (That’s a whole other topic!) How very evil that sounds, yet this is one of God’s creatures! She actually spins a shiny, silk-like web to catch her prey and then tangles it up in more web before she injects it with a poison that liquefies its internal organs. Nice.
Morning Has Broken
And that’s when it began to dawn on me like new morning. The black widow spider is a perfect example of sin in our life. When we first notice it, we thumped it away from us. Distracted with life, if the same sin rears its ugly head again, we swat at it. But, it doesn’t give up. It likes to spin webs and nest in the dark, hidden places of our mind, while often giving the appearance of something shiny and silky. It doesn’t look like a trap. We’re not aware of its danger at first. We don’t see the web, until we walk into it and feel the sticky, spooky fibers on our face, arms or worse… in our hair! We immediately start trying to remove it, agonizing over our fear. What if we can’t find it! The web is one thing, the spider is another!
Entanglements of the World
Oh, that I would have THAT reaction to the temptations and traps of this world! Why do I toy with them? Why do I not smash their very guts when I first notice the web being weaved? Would it not be so much better for all concerned?
The Tangled Web
Just as the spider weaves the web, so the enemy lays his snare. There’s also a reason why we repeat the quote so often, “Oh, the tangled web we weave, when at first, we practice to deceive.” We are often oblivious to the poison that infects our relationships when we swat away deception. In particular, the lies we tell ourselves about why we haven’t removed ourselves from the entanglement. Really – there is no personal sin. It all affects us all.
I realized as I sat there with spider guts all over my leg, that if I’d killed it when I first saw it, that would have settled it. No fear, no guts (on my leg anyway) and no glory (from the enemy) over my failure to see the danger. Even though, I would have scared my baby girl to death, I should have dealt with the spider while it was trying to hide in her fur.
My devotion this morning was about having enough faith to pray for today’s needs. Not tomorrow’s or the future, but just for today. So, as I close out my prayer time, I pray that God will give each of us the faith we need for today. The faith to trust our God-given instincts about danger and entrapments. And just for today, I pray we have the ability to smash the guts of sin – no matter where we first see it.