Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
I don’t like spiders and snakes. Nope, never did and never will. That was the title of one of those crazy songs from the seventies. Of course, back then there were several crazy songs but after all—it was the seventies. Crazy or not, it was one of those songs that I could sure identify with. We lived on two acres of land and a lot of it was, well, weedy. And sometimes Daddy or Momma would decide that it would have to be mowed…by push mower. I can well remember slowly, ever so slowly, working my way through the tall, weeds. I was sure, really sure, that somewhere out there were giant anacondas just waiting to grab my leg and wrap me in their death grip. Nope, I don’t like snakes.
Oh, and I sure don’t like spiders either. While I never saw the giant anacondas that lurked in the forbidden zone of our two acres, I saw plenty of spiders. Our house had wooden siding and at each corner where the siding went a different direction, there would be the perfect spot for these flesh-eating black spiders to hide. And while I never saw one of them eating anything, my young mind had no problem imagining what went on in their web covered holes. If the hole would have been big enough, I am sure their dens would have been filled with little boys’ remains. Nope, I don’t like spiders.
But of all the spiders that called 6008 Carlton Road home, the dreaded banana spider was the worse. The banana spider (I’m sure that is not the correct name, but it was what I called them) would spin their webs out in the low hanging branches and in between two or more bushes. They were about the size of a small house dog (well, it seemed they were) and they had long legs and a long and narrow thingy in the back. Their webs were extremely tough and usually had a zigzag pattern. While I managed to avoid them most of the time, sometimes, well, I didn’t, and it seemed that is always when I was mowing the yard.
It would go like this. I was one of those “can’t hold still” and big imagination kids. So, I would be pushing the lawn mower fast (to get done…that was just my nature) with my mind somewhere either in the woods or the kitchen—dreaming of a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich. Zipping along, ducking occasionally for a lower limb, I would almost always manage to walk right into one of these spider webs. To this day I can still remember just how much I hated it. The web would get wrapped around my face and unlike the black flesh-eating spiders who lived in the cracks on my house, these guys didn’t hide—they were always there. Boy, do I hate spiders.
Well, looking back and being a little wiser, I know now that those big black spiders didn’t eat little boys after all. No, they were fond of small insects. And those massive banana spiders really weren’t trying to wrap me in their web so they could save me for a midnight snack. They too were insect eaters—howbeit bigger insects than their cousins. So, while I know the threat was not real—the fear was. In fact, it was very real. And that is the way it works, isn’t it? So often the threats that we feel, we sense around us are not real. Most of the things we fear never, ever happen, but the truth is—the fear does. We find ourselves wrapped in its tight web, paralyzed, wanting to break free but bound.
There might be several answers to fear and knowledge is one of those. Often if we can gain a clearer understanding of what is driving the fear, it will scamper back into its dark den. But another thing that sends fear on the run is a strong faith in our God—our Dearest Daddy. When we realize that He is greater than anything we might fear, when we believe that He will always be there, fear retreats into the dark places it came from. The light of faith shows us that we have nothing to fear. When David, the shepherd turned king of Bible days, was writing about death, he said, “Even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. You are with me.” Did you see all of that great truth? Death is but a shadow and God is with us. Now that will put fear on the run.
So today, if you accidentally wander into a web of fear, just remember that the thing we are fearing has no more grip than we give it. If you can call God Father, well, He is greater than even death. He loves you and wants to walk with you. My earthly Daddy never walked with me when I mowed but if he had it would have sure helped. My spider stomping Daddy would have given me the confidence I needed. I’m glad to let you know that your heavenly spider stomping, fear killing Daddy is beside you and if you listen, over the din of noise, you can hear Him saying, “I’ve got this.” Bro. Dewayne