Philippians 3:13b-14 – Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
I was out on my back deck enjoying the cool air that followed the heavy rain that had just fallen. It was such a welcome break from the humidity that we had been experiencing. As I stood there, I noticed a tiny spider crawling into the downspout. Rain was still trickling out from the eaves trough, and I idly wondered why that tiny creature would choose to take a chance of getting drowned.
Sure enough, an extra-large wave of water came spurting out, blown down by a sudden rise in the wind, and that spider was washed out onto the deck.
I was amazed to see it crawl patiently back up the spout once more, only to be washed out again. This happened several times. Would he never learn his lesson?
I noticed that the sun had come out, and I hoped that it wouldn't take too long to dry off the deck so that I might be able to sit out and get a bit of a tan.
As I turned to go inside, I saw that spider heading back up the drain pipe. What a determined little creature! Normally, I dislike spiders, but this little guy was so persistent that I had to admire him.
The words of a poem flashed into my mind.
- The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.
What a lesson I learned in that brief few minutes!
We, too, have a goal of persisting in the work that our Lord has assigned to us, and we cannot let anything or anyone dissuade us from that goal: winning the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.
We can be assured that just as the sun may be temporarily hidden by the rain clouds, so also the Son of God, our Saviour, is there waiting just behind the clouds in our lives, and will be there to help us "dry up all the rain".
So, next time we see a little spider, let it remind us of our divine purpose in this world.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to keep our eyes on the goal that You have set for us. Help us to press towards it eagerly, putting all of our talents and energy into whatever tasks You assign us. Help us not to become discouraged or give up in the difficult days when the storm clouds pour out the rains of hindrance, obstacles, pain, or fear, which we all encounter at some time or other. Jesus told us in John 16:33 that we would have trouble in this world, but He also gave us His wonderful, reassuring promise, "But take heart! I have overcome the world." Amen.