This is the time of year when it seems as though you cannot walk outside without getting slimed by multitudinous spider webs.
It is rather irritating. But, the Lord taught me a good spiritual lesson recently with one spider web in particular.
Several months ago, I carved a path through the woods on our property. Starting a walk at our back patio, and going three times down the path and back, down over the bank, up the driveway and around it to our back patio, equates to 1.2 miles. It takes me 25 minutes to walk the way, which is admittedly slow. It takes Terry 20 minutes. Right now, she walks regularly with enthusiasm.
Sunday afternoon, I decided I would do the walk. Terry and I usually take a stick to brush away the spider webs on the first round through the woods. But, for some reason, I did not do so this time.
I was doing pretty good about not hitting any webs until halfway along the path. But, I suddenly stopped short, within about 6 inches directly in front of my face, of passing through a massive spider web. It was one of those huge, intricately designed webs that spread at least six feet between its connecting points. If I had not seen it in time, I would still be pulling web off of my face and out of my hair.
However, what caused me to see it in time was the sunshine on it, which exposed it to my sight, enabling me to avoid it. There is nothing unusual about that, but in an instant, the Lord affirmed to me a very simple spiritual lesson concerning it as it confirms the value of the Word of God for our lives.
Part of the value of the Word of God is the exposure it gives to the emotional and spiritual webs of life. I am not an expert on spider webs, but I figure that with each web there is a spider. If you run into its web, chances are that the spider will get on you, which can pose a bother or concern to one degree or another.
So, as much as possible, you want to avoid passing through webs. Personally, I do not appreciate the slimy feeling. Others do not like the spiders, period. The basic point is that you usually try to avoid spider webs as much as possible. But, seeing them in time to keep them from sliming your face is the key consideration. If you see them in time, you can swipe them away, or you can go around them.
Why this thought becomes applicable to us is because we often get caught in the slimy webs of life. What makes it worse is if the spider of it gets on us. But, the Word of God is like light to our paths, which is exactly what the Psalmist wrote: “Thy word … is a light unto my path.”
What the Word of God does is shine light on those temptation webs. It shines light on those pitfall webs. It shines light on those character-issue webs. It shines light on any of those webs the devil weaves and hangs along our path for us to become entangled.
The Psalmist also wrote: “The entrance of thy word gives light.” That is a significant statement. In so many terms, it points out to us is that if the Word of God is in us, then the light of God is in us.
How does the Word of God make entrance? Well, it goes back to basics. First, reading and studying the Word of God makes the entrance. Each of us need to daily be in the Word of God. Second, hearing the Word of God makes the entrance. God has ordained that we faithfully hear the preached Word, which instills the light of faith in us. The bottom line is that on both accounts it is the light coming from the Word of God that helps us see and avoid those webs that would otherwise slime our faces.
In the meantime, I am impressed with Terry’s fresh-found commitment to walking. I am not sure how long it will last, but it is good for now.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.