The Itsy Bitsy Spider

September 30th, 2013
look closely, it's a spider robot with camera

I recently read a mother’s post on Facebook regarding her young son. It said, “Ethan just drew what he said was a spider, then got scared and ran from it. I had to erase it for him to come back in the room.”

My first thoughts were of course, “Oh how sweet, how silly children can be.” However, I was drawn to that little boy’s scenario. Unexplainably, I kept reading his mother’s post. Every time I had the same reaction—a quiet smile.

Then it hit me.

How very like me, that is! Ethan drew a spider, got scared of his own creation and ran from it. To his mother, the creation did not even look like a spider, but still it scared him. So, his Mom erased it for him before he would come back in the room.

How many times do I do that very same thing? In my mind, in my life, I create a scenario, something scary, something intimidating, something that rocks my world. It frightens me. It makes me cry. It stresses me out. It makes me run and hide.

It doesn’t matter that no one else even recognizes it for the scary, dangerous thing it is. It feels real! It doesn’t matter that it is a product of my mind. It feels real! It doesn’t matter that it isn’t real. It feels real! It doesn’t matter that I am blowing things out of proportion. It feels real! It doesn’t matter that it’s all make-believe. It feels real!

I’m very good at this game, probably much better than Ethan. After all, I have had years of experience.

Feeling a little sorry for myself, I can create scenes from my own funeral playing in my head. They’ll feel bad for treating me this way when I’m dead and gone, sniff, sniff.

Worrying over my son who just got his driver’s license, I begin to imagine how I will respond when I get the dreaded call that he has been in an accident. Oh son, why didn’t I tell you how much I loved you before you left? Doctor, please tell me he’s going to be okay.

Fussing with my children about their lack of effort in school, I envision years of academic struggles and fights. Will they even graduate? How will they ever finish college?

Not having heard from a friend in a while, I begin re-thinking our last conversation, creating imaginary offenses that must have angered her, must have driven her away. She will never call me again. She will never email. What a terrible person I must be! 

Of course, it’s all in my head. But it feels so very real. I’m sure Ethan’s fear felt very real to him too.

I doubt that Ethan’s Mom would have accomplished much had she just tried to convince Ethan that the spider wasn’t real. To Ethan, the spider was real. So, what did she do? She showed her great and mighty strength as Mom. She erased the image and substituted it instead with a blank sheet of paper and her presence. In doing so she was able to comfort Ethan, to help him understand that everything was going to be just fine, to coax him back into the room.

That is so me. Just like Ethan, I need a protector, someone wise enough to erase the imaginary (and even real) fears that dance around in my head, someone strong enough to convince me that it’s going to be okay. I need God to “capture every thought (that I have) to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5b). Ethan’s Mom did that for him. Me? I need my heavenly Father.

How thankful I am for a God who knows my weaknesses, who treats me with as much compassion as Ethan’s Mom treated him. God doesn’t just scold, “Come on now. You know that isn’t real. What’s wrong with you? Get back in here!”

Instead, 2 Corinthians 1:3  tells us that “…He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. He’s the one who comforts us…” God erases the fears from my heart and mind and replaces them with the presence of the Lord.

Thank you, Ethan, for the reminder.

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