I believe one of the reasons God put insects on earth is to teach us certain things. They sometimes serve as examples or object lessons on how we should or shouldn’t be. William Wordsworth once said, “Let nature be your teacher.” I do not like spiders because my mother once shared a story with me of a young girl that was once bitten by a black widow spider and was near death before she received help. Creepy or not we can learn a few things from spiders.
I go through quite a few spider webs when I am cutting grass. They are just hanging there from tree to tree. I was looking forward to window washing day to remove these spider webs that had taken residence in the corners of my windows. Using my hand held long brush, I soaped the windows and aimed my spray nozzle on my water hose at the webs. The webs held firm. I thought I needed more water pressure. After turning the pressure to its fullest, I sprayed again. Still nothing. The web was strong and stubborn, unwilling to succumb to the pressure. All of a sudden I had a spiritual encounter. I want faith like that spider web…a faith that can withstand life’s pressures; low, high and nearby. The strength and tenacity of the web intrigued me and I did some research on spiders. Tensile strength (TS) is defined as the maximum stress a material cam withstand when stretched or pulled before breaking.
Even though spiders are hated and unwelcomed that doesn’t stop them, they continue on toward their goal, which is something we can learn from. In Proverbs 30:24, the spider is written about as one of the four things that is “small on the earth, but exceedingly wise.” Proverbs 30: 28 says, “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.” Both hands. She puts both hands to the work. The persistent spider teaches us to hold on to Christ. So often in life, we will face some knocks and setbacks. But don’t let that hold you back. A spider does not give up and sulk in a corner every time its web is destroyed. It starts again and again. The reason is simple: the spider cannot go around moping about how unjust life is. The spider web is its home, its livelihood, its creation, its soul purpose. To give up on weaving spider webs is to give up on life. Spiders can certainly teach us life lessons. Spiders are master engineers and they create engineering miracles. A spider does not go around seeking approval of its creation, or crave awards from some design council in the insect world. So, don’t worry about what others think of you. I am God’s opinion and not people’s opinion. We should seek God’s approval and not the approval of people. No matter how much I don’t like the spider and wish it wasn’t there, it really doesn’t care. It needs nobody’s approval or affection in order to live its life. Someone, somewhere does love us, and most of us are blessed to know Who exactly that is.
When I think of a spider in a palace, that ugly little creature is not suppose to be there. But it’s there, hanging on to the wall. Like the spider, we are earthly creatures that don’t deserve to be in the king’s palace. But if we draw near to God and hold on to His promises, we can go from earthly creatures to being in the presence of the King of heaven, members of God’s household. The spider knows her worth and moves through the day with no baggage. She has no doubt of who she is and what her purpose is. She is an artist and a weaver. She does not judge her web against the webs of others. She does not go to the Web Store and try to purchase a better web and she does not take an all day workshop on the top ten ways to catch flies. She goes to the source. She creates her web from the great mystery of God. She pulls from within herself and weaves her web, her passion, her purpose, and her possibility. This is what she was born to do. What a great teacher she is, for the student who is ready to know their truth. God does not love you any less than the spider. To truly know this requires complete faith, and this can be quite scary to step out and trust that God’s got you. I guess that is why the spider scares us so much. God is not invested in our Toils and Troubles, but He is invested in our Passion and Purpose.
A couple of weeks ago, as I was cleaning my outside windows, I noticed what I thought was a huge monster of a spider. She was a garden spider, with a bright yellow body and her legs seemed to be about 3 inches in length. I thought, well, I can look into nature to find inspiration, it’s God gift to us. We can look around our outside windows of our homes and see the power of God in the tapestry hanging around our homes. Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty! I named this spider Bernice which is a Greek baby name that means “bringer of victory.” I observed Bernice day and night. She was most active at night, building onto her web. It is not uncommon for a spider web to be 20 times the size of the spider building it. I want a faith bigger than I am so when the storms come, I won’t be destroyed. I want my faith to be woven strong enough to withstand a series of trials. To know that I am covered with peace, a deep consuming, fearless peace in the middle of impossible situations. But I have been there before and every time—every single time—my God has shown up. Our faith can be bigger than we are, unwavering and able to withstand the storms of life. Christ is immovable and our “safe haven” during our storms, and He is capable of stilling storms.
Insignificance is no excuse for inaction. What if the spider that Solomon saw on the wall would have said, “I can’t weave a web worthy of this great palace; what can I do amid all this gold and embroidery? I am not able to make anything fit for so grand a place. No so said the spider. “The spider taketh hold with her hands.” It is inch by inch, step by step, it is stroke by stroke that our Christian character is built. Therefore, be content to do what God commands you to do. God is not ashamed to do small things. What God does, He does well. What you do, do it well, be it a great work or a small work. Someone could have tried to kill that spider that Solomon saw. They could have said, “This is no place for it. If that spider is determined to weave a web, let it go down in the cellar of the palace, or in some dark dungeon. Ah! The spider could not be discouraged. it clambered on, and climbed up higher and higher and higher until after a while it reached the king’s vision. And so it often is now that things are loathsome and repulsive get up into very elevated places. Sometimes we as humans think we are so weak and unimportant that we will never accomplish anything.
You may be in your midnight hour, building up your faith in the dark. God wants you to keep working. Keep praying. Keep believing. Keep speaking those things that are not as though they were. (Romans 4:17) God is the lover of our soul! And we will do well to learn how to find and hold on to Him when the great storms of life begin to blow us about. Joseph worshiped, Jeremiah prayed and Stephen trusted a heavenly vision in the midst of his storm. This is what we should do before the storm, during the storm and after the storm. Put your hope, trust and reliance in the eternal Almighty God. Some situations we get in, we need to get in them so we can trust God more. Be encouraged today.
Dear Father, You are the only source of eternal life to whom I can cling. I am confident that You will be with me to the end of my life here on this earth. I am grateful for the many people who bring me support, encouragement and companionship from day to day. They are a source of joy as they enrich my life daily. But as I grow older I’m recognizing that nothing stays the same and much of what I came to rely on is no longer present. Losses of those people very dear to me and things once considered important mount up as I reflect upon the passing years. I find great comfort as I cling to the words of the 73rd Psalm, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none that I desire on earth beside Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Lord, You have used Your small creatures to teach me something new. Help me build a faith like the spider builds a web. Strong and flexible, yet immovable. God I know You are working in my life and You’ve got a plan. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Milley Brewington is a guest columnist for The Sampson Independent.