So this morning I was settling into my favorite comfy chair in the living room, but the Lord urged me to go to the front porch instead. I got situated on the porch swing, and something caught my attention out of the corner of my left eye. An ugly spider had spun his web down from the hanging pot of flowers and attached the other end to the chain of the porch swing. Every time I swung forward, he'd swing forward...every time I'd swing back, he'd come right with my swing. Now, I'm a living-in-the-woods girl, so I'm fairly used to seeing spiders and other critters. I let them live out in their area (the whole woods!), but I like to have MY territory to myself too. So, I took my pen and just broke the one thread that attached his web to my porch swing, and the whole web went limp. Mr. Spider then did an amazing thing... He sat for about 10 seconds as if evaluating the damage, and then he began to quickly roll up his web. I watched as he climbed back up the web, rolling the whole thing up as he went along. And then he retreated into the hanging basket of flowers...perhaps thinking about his next housing project.
And I knew that God had brought me onto the porch for some lessons. Sometimes He teaches me straight from His Word out here, and I barely hear the buzzing of the bees. But other times, He brings me out here and says, "Watch and learn." So, I peel my eyes open and just watch, with an open spirit that wants to learn. Today was one of the watch-and-learn days. Two thoughts came to my mind as I watched that spider:
1) Dumb spider! Why on earth would he attach his web to 2 movable objects?? Come on...he has the whole woods...trees, bushes, plants...some secure natural dwellings, no? And if he prefers to be closer to people, then why not attach onto the side of the house or garage or shed? He attached to a hanging plant on one end and a movable swing on the other end! Dumb spider! And me?? Okay, so do I hook my life securely to the immovable anchor and Rock, or do I hook onto the movable things of this life? And here's a thought...the immovable truly secure place to anchor is often the UNSEEN, and it's the thing that *feels* like a crazy unstable place to put our trust....while the movable truly insecure place is often the VISIBLE, and it's the thing that *feels* like a stable place to put our trust. (Reread that sentence until it clicks..really clicks) Do I attach to the movable or the immovable? "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your treasure is, there you heart and thoughts will also be." (Matt 6:11)
2) That spider could not have attached to my porch swing while it was moving. I found myself trying to keep the swing moving so that Mr. Spider wouldn't rethink this housing option. I figured that if the swing was moving, he'd look elsewhere for a place to attach his web. And I remembered how amazing it was to watch him roll up that web. All I did was detach it at its base...the point of contact with the swing. And then he rolled up the entire web (no messy web sticking to things!), and he retreated! And the Scripture came to my mind: "Resist the devil, and he will flee."
We are stepping out in a huge way into God's calling for our lives. This is one of those biggie moments when we are stepping out of the boat and onto the crashing waves. (Really, more details will be coming in time as we are able to share them!) But, with stepping out comes a torrential onslaught of trials, challenges, spiritual battles. Recently, I've felt so war-torn that I have wanted to RUN AWAY from it all and just find any comfy place to slip into and hide. But that is the strategy of the enemy. He wants us on the run...he wants us scared...he wants us focused on anything and everything except for the Kingdom of God.
But my spider friend taught me some lessons. I am to hook my life onto the immovable Rock. HOW? Focus ONLY on Him and what He has called me to do...never mind the seen things that scream out security...but rather step into His calling, no matter how crazy it seems...put my whole trust in Him as my refuge and Rock. And I am to resist the devil at every turn...detach his point of contact with my life and then watch him roll up his web and retreat. HOW do I detach his web from my life? Refuse to focus on the temporal irritations, the arguments, the tensions and even the "good and fun" things that could so easily distract me from His callings. Resist the urge to fight for my rights. Resist the desire to be right in the conversation. Resist the urge to control. Resist the devil, and he WILL flee. And I love that he has to roll up his web and retreat! If I resist him and his temporal things he wishes I'd focus on, I can instead focus on what I'm called to do for the Kingdom.
I also learned a tremendous lesson from the hummingbirds this morning. There is a hummingbird who has been coming to our feeder for what seems like forever. He finds our feeder in the spring and stays until fall. He's a dear friend that I feed when he's here. But, as is the case with feeders, he has competition. Other male hummingbirds try to steal some nectar, and I'm always thinking that surely they can learn to share. There are, after all, 4 holes for drinking the nectar...and how much nectar can a tiny bird need, right? But this morning I saw it in a new light. (Remember, God brought me out here to watch and learn...so I peeled my spiritual eyes open and sat to watch).
My hummingbird friend was guarding his nectar fiercely today. Any time visitor hummingbird came by, my resident hummingbird fought him off. Have you ever HEARD them fight? I think they clash beaks or something because there's an awful crashing sound, and then they fly off squawking in their high pitch voices. It looks like it HURTS to clash like that...mid-air. If you haven't watched this, really you need to get a hummingbird feeder. It's far better than the sports channel in my opinion!
Okay, so I got to thinking about this. My resident hummingbird is guarding his nectar. It's his life source. And I remembered our pastor's message yesterday about keeping out "oil" in our house. The "oil" was a word picture for the Holy Spirit. We have to keep the Holy Spirit flowing in our home. Complacency is deadly. And I saw my resident hummingbird as a pretty smart guy. He was on guard, making sure that his life source was guarded. He has a "wife" too that he allows to drink the nectar, while he stands guard to keep other visiting hummingbirds away. He is on guard all the time. He will come out of the trees quick as a flash to guard that feeder, and he's relentless to clash and fight other hummingbirds all for the sake of guarding his life source nectar. And I saw him as quite a model to follow. We MUST keep guard all the time. Like the builders on the wall in Nehemiahs' day...some built the wall, while others stood guard the whole time. We have to be on spiritual guard. There is no complacency in nature. Hummingbirds guard their nectar out of necessity. Spiders build their webs out of necessity. And we must stand guard over our "oil" out of necessity to make sure that we are never outdone by the enemy. He wants us to be complacent. He wants us to sit back and be comfortable. Remember, complacency is deadly.
But you cannot get out of the boat and remain comfortable at the same time. It's impossible. And you cannot guard your nectar if you sit in comfort. And you'll have spiders all over your porch swing if you don't cut the web at it's source. Absolutely amazing the lessons that God can teach on a front porch!