The Web of Struggle
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” -Romans 8:28-30 (NASB)
Friends and family close to me have been adding to my collection of hummingbirds for nearly twenty-five years now. I’ve been given figurines, commemorative plates, candlesticks, wine glasses, music boxes, magnets, etc. If a hummingbird can be added to enhance the sight of something, I probably own something like it. Some may know the story of the first figurine I received, but very few know what the hummingbird really represents to me.
The first figurine I received was a gift from my grandparents to remember a summer vacation I spent with them. During that trip, I found an overturned hummingbird nest behind a vending machine at the resort where we were staying. I found it because I could hear the mother hummingbird struggling to save her young ones who had gotten caught in a spider’s web. She was frantic and beginning to lose herself to exhaustion. The younger birds had struggled until they were thoroughly wrapped in the sticky silk. I pulled them out of the web, and the mother hummingbird hovered over me as I cleaned the web off of them. The three of them spent nearly an hour in my hand recovering, then they hovered around me until the end of the day when they flew off. It was a very enchanting experience for me and my grandparents, and that first hummingbird figurine was a very special memento, but this hummingbird means more to me now. See, hummingbirds actually remind me of a person’s struggle with sin and death.
To me, the sticky silks of a spider’s web is like our sins. Sometimes we are seduced by their allurance, sometimes we don’t see them until it’s too late, and sometimes we fall into them. The result is the same, however, we find ourselves in a big sticky mess. It is normal for us to struggle in our sin. Have you ever walked into a large cobweb? Our squealing and waving arms are no different than the struggling a fly does when they are first caught, and this is very much like the dangerous games we often play when we realize we are caught in our sin. The web, like our sin, is made to stick to itself; so, the more we struggle in it, the more trapped we become. That old spider Satan loves to sit back and watch us struggle. He is satisfied with any score he can get. I’ve often looked at flies and other insects caught in a spider’s web and thought, “Good riddance.” How often have we seen someone struggling in their sin and thought something similar?
It wasn’t the same when I saw those young hummingbirds wrapped up in the webbing. Their mother was struggling to tear away the webbing with her delicate beak, and she was making anguished noises. Any parent who has watched their child struggle can relate. We struggle with them, we panic, we fight to free them, we weep, we mourn even, but you can be sure we give it everything we’ve got, and we just can’t leave them there. These young birds had struggled so much that they’d given up fighting, but their mother hadn’t because there was a very large spider standing by on the edge of the web. I’ve watched spiders run to claim whatever gets caught in their web, but not this one. He had two snared already, and I imagine he was waiting to see if he would eventually have three. Mother hummingbird was determined not to allow him access to her babies, but one wrong move and she could have been trapped as well.
I heard the mother bird’s desire to save her young ones, I saw that they were ready to allow me to save them, and I stepped in to help. Jesus does the same for us when we are caught in sin. He doesn’t see anyone as nasty flies or insects when we are caught in the sin that we got ourselves caught in. He never thinks, “Good riddance.” No, He loves us. He sees us the same way I saw those hummingbirds. He hears our anguish, our prayers and petitions in our struggle, He sees when we are truly ready to be saved, and He destroys our sin. Actually, He’s done more than that, He’s laid down for us on our sins and died with them, and He stood up and stomped out that old spider Satan. That right there, my friends, is a true rescue hero.
After rescuing those hummingbirds, I spent as much time as they would let me with them, but I couldn’t keep them. That is why my grandparents gave me a figurine in honor of that day. Jesus, however, has been given all that He has saved. We are not caged or kept on a shelf. Instead we are called His brethren in Romans 8:29, and He is the first fruits of this family. We were predestined to be conformed to the image of Him. We are called, justified, and glorified by God the Father in his Son Jesus Christ. In John 15:15 Jesus said, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
Do not struggle in the web of sin and death anymore. Mothers do not struggle with your children as they struggle in this web of sin and death. Children of God do not judge those struggling in the web of sin and death, and do not turn your heads and walk on by into another web. Call on Jesus. Call on his holy name, for He is the rescuer and giver of life. Mothers, all God’s children, do not cease praying and petitioning on behalf of these children no matter their age, their struggle, or how long they have struggled. You are heard and He will answer in His power, and at exactly the right time, His time, that old spider has already been exterminated.
Dearest Holy and Righteous Father, may we all submit our struggle to You as in Isaiah 38:17 – “Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” You are so mighty and perfect. We lift our hands and present you our struggles for your Son has conquered them, and we are no longer trapped in them. Hear us as we petition You on behalf of our children, your children who are still struggling. May we soon see them called out of the web and released into your care, your will. Thank you, Father. Thank You! Amen.