Same Spider, Different Silks

Dew drops on spider’s web. Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

When you let your mind wander, do you ever find yourself asking odd questions?

Such as, “Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?”

Or, “How do you grow a seedless fruit?”

Or how about this one:

“Why don’t spiders get caught in their own webs?”

I can’t help you with the first two, but I do have an answer for the third.

When spiders build their webs, they draw out silk from their abdomens with six spinnerets. The key is that they’re able to emit different types of silk for different purposes.

The spider first constructs a frame for its web. Then, it lays down spokes of non-sticky silk to use as walkways.

Next, the spider weaves spirals of connecting lines between the spokes using sticky silk. This is for ensnaring small insects that it will later eat. The spider knows to avoid walking on these gluey strands.

A spider can also spin stretchy silk for the centre of its web, or extra-strong silk for the anchor lines.

Whichever type of silk the spider decides to spin, it all has a specific purpose. And even though the types of silk differ, they all come from the same source.

I think we can borrow this analogy to describe how we can receive quite different things from God’s hand.

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How To Become A Loaf Of Bread

Imagine that you’re a ball of bread dough (for some of us whose figures are a bit “doughy,” this isn’t much of a stretch).

You’ve had your ingredients mixed together nicely, and you’ve been resting for a while after all that effort. You feel good: you’ve even risen higher. It won’t be long now until you become a beautiful loaf of bread.

But wait! What’s that coming toward you? It’s a fist! Someone is actually punching you! You feel yourself deflate, and lose a lot of your volume. Then you’re lifted out of the warm bowl you were in and slapped onto a counter. Ouch! That hurt! The hands are now kneading and pummelling you. You wish they could be a bit more gentle.

Finally, it stops. Thank goodness! That was excruciating! You’re now resting back in your bowl in a warm spot, with a tea towel over you to protect you from drafts and from drying out. You can relax now. At least all that pain is over with.

Or is it? Some time later, here come the hands again. They lift the tea towel and begin punching you down anew, just when you’d risen to your previous height. Not again! You’ve got to be kidding! Wasn’t once enough? Once more, you’re kneaded and prodded, stretched and pressed down hard. What good could this possibly be doing you?

When all the pummelling is finished, you’re shaped and placed into a loaf pan. At least it’s cozy here, and the hands have disappeared for a while. You can rest again. Surely nothing worse will happen to you.

But then suddenly you’re thrust into a searing oven. Yikes, that’s hot! You feel your insides begin to transform, and your surface start to turn brown.

You’re becoming a loaf of bread after all.

But why all the trouble and pain? Was it really necessary?

Yes, because that’s what gave you a finer texture.

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Let the Son Outshine Your Problems

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

The moon did a disappearing act on me recently.

As I sat eating breakfast, I could see the moon shining brightly through the window. It handily outshone the streetlights, which were still on at that pre-dawn hour.

But slowly, the moon grew dimmer and fainter, although it was still high in the sky.

What had happened to its luminosity?

Had the moon changed in some way?

No, the sun had simply come up!

The sun’s growing brilliance filled the morning sky, causing the moon to appear paler than before. Eventually, I could barely see the moon at all, even though it hadn’t set behind the horizon yet.

This puts me in mind of how we sometimes view our problems.

In the darkness of our difficulties, we often focus on what’s causing us pain. The source of our problems gets our attention, out-competing other factors in our lives.

But if we let the light of Jesus shine on our situation, the truth of His unending love for us can outshine the temporary nature of our problems. Our challenges appear dimmer in the light of His forgiveness, His care for us, and His promise of eternal life.

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Shift Your Perspective

Mallard duck. Image by Ralphs_Fotos from Pixabay

Among the most spectacular aspects of nature for me are its colours.

I’m continually wowed by the vivid colours found in nature, such as the brilliant red plumage of the Northern cardinal.

The cardinal’s red feathers, which come courtesy of pigments, look the same when viewed from any angle. But there’s another source of colour in nature that is even more mesmerizing:

Iridescence.

With iridescence, the hue of something changes when seen from different angles. You’ve probably experienced this shimmery optical phenomenon yourself when looking at certain insects, butterflies, birds, or even soap bubbles.

A good example of iridescence is the head of the mallard, a common duck found in the northern hemisphere. Its head appears to be a bright emerald green at first, but if you shift your angle of observation, it can appear green-gold, blue, or indigo.

It all depends on your perspective.

Maybe there’s a little lesson here for us.

If we shift our perspective about our own situations, we can see beauty that we didn’t know was there.

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Love In Disguise

Image of elephant by laurent marx from Pixabay

Have you ever been shocked to find out that things which look nothing alike are actually closely related?

I know two men who are brothers, but who don’t resemble one another at all. One takes after his father with his dark, curly hair; the other has his mother’s straight blond hair. You would never take them for siblings by just looking at them.

It’s the same in the natural world, too. There are some plants which surprisingly belong to the same family, despite looking totally different. Broccoli and cabbages, for instance, which are both Brassicas. It’s hard to believe from their appearance that they have common roots, so to speak.

This disparity is even more evident in the animal world.

Surprisingly, jellyfish and corals are related, even though one swims like a fish and the other is fixed in place like a plant. They’re both members of the Cnidarian family.

Horseshoe crabs are actually more closely related to spiders than to other crabs, despite there seeming to be no family resemblance at all.

Image of manatee by PublicDomainImages from Pixabay

Elephants and manatees are kin, even though one lives on land and the other underwater.

I think the love of God follows this same pattern at times.

Sometimes His love looks nothing like what we would expect, so we don’t recognize certain circumstances as reflecting God working in our lives for our good.

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Blessings of the Barren Season

Looking out the window here at The Faith Cafe, I notice that the deciduous trees in the park have dropped almost all of their leaves by now.

It’s always sad to have to say goodbye to the autumn leaves, isn’t it? When the last one has fallen, you’re left with a sense of loss, because you know you’re heading into the barren season of winter.

But a funny thing happens when a tree has lost its leaves: you can now see things that you didn’t know were there before.

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