I have only been back a week and I miss it already. While I am a total homebody here in Missouri, two places on this earth fill my soul. Oklahoma, and Colorado. Colorado is the easy one to figure out. The mountains and rugged beauty draw people from all over the world. I came to know Jesus there. Oklahoma though? Not quite the same tourist draw. But oh, how I love it.
My sister lives in Oklahoma. She lives on the kind of property with enough land and trees to let the kids run and play with the confidence that they will return dirty, happy and exhausted. One corner of their property touches a city-wide trail. Pathfinder is 12 miles of winding blacktop that meanders its way through the trees, creating a beautiful sun-dappled retreat from the Oklahoma skies. It is a perfect place for runners, walkers, and kids learning to ride their bikes. Anytime I visit I work in as many trips to this gem as I can because, really, look at this view.
Recently, my sister’s husband blazed and mulched a couple trails so we wouldn’t have to go “all the way around” to the city entrance. In the early morning, I forgot about these trails and headed out the usual way, following residential roads to the start. But, on the way home the temperature had shot up and I remembered that trailhead!
I stepped confidently off the blacktop knowing water and air conditioning were only steps away. Crunch, crunch, mulch compressing under my shoes. I had made it approximately 10 feet before I hit the first one. Spiderweb. Correction, spiderwebs. Delicate masterpiece after delicate masterpiece, woven wide through the night and now covering my sweat-stained face.
I am certain I looked like a madwoman making my way toward the house. Ducking and dodging to no avail, arms flailing, hands grasping at the invisible strings that were multiplying with every step. I was too far in to go back and too panicked to slow down. I emerged in my sister’s kitchen looking wild and indignant, “What is with all the spiders?!!”
This woman looked up at me, calmly nursing her fourth child, “Why didn’t you grab one of the sticks? You just have to put it in front of you.”
The sticks. That’s right, I had forgotten my weapon.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV, italics added)
This is a silly spider example with a real-world concept. God does not intend for us to walk through this world exposed. He gives us armor to “cover” and defend ourselves, and He gives us a stick. In this case, a sword. God’s Word is intended to go before us so we can knock things out of the way. It is used to combat what comes at us, causes us to panic, or could catch us in a sticky mess. And in order for us to use it, we must have it with us. One simple way to put that sword in our hands is to memorize verses that we can call to mind as needed. A topic search on a Bible study site is one of my favorite go-to options. See an example here: Open Bible – Trusting God.
So, before you wander any further in the woods today, please stop. Look in God’s Word and get what you need before you take another step. Tuck it in your mind, your heart, and your hand and show those spiders who’s boss.
Look out webs of the world. She’s armed today.