I’m sure that the title to this article made you pause for a moment, but let me explain. A week or so ago during our bedtime routine, we all gathered in the boys’ room to say bedtime prayers. Jaxon said his prayer and then Ayden. Ayden began his prayer thanking God for the day, for the family, naming each of us, and then he said, “Thank you God for tarantulas.” I was a little shocked. Out of all the prayers I’ve said and heard, not once have I ever heard anyone thank the Lord for tarantulas. Due to their fearsome appearance and reputation combined with our knowledge that some are very poisonous, we have concluded that tarantulas and spiders in general are not exactly something we find ourselves thankful to the Lord for. I’ve been bitten twice by a brown recluse spider which caused irreversible damage to my left leg, so spiders were definitely not on my list of things to be thankful for.
We know that the scriptures tell us to have a thankful attitude, and that we should, as the apostle Paul said to the Thessalonians, “in everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18a). But how can we be thankful for tarantulas? This question made me wonder why spiders (which we consider to be pests in our daily lives) exist and how we can be thankful for them.
Although I know that there’s rhyme and reason to everything that God created, it is easy to write some things off and deem them unnecessary due to the encounters we have with them. But when we look at the very purpose that they serve in the ecosystem, the various “pests” of our day to day life are very significant and important.
Spiders serve a very valuable purpose. During my research, I found that they are basically in the insect population control business. Spiders consume pests such as flies, moths, centipedes, fleas and cockroaches. We may consider spiders to be pests themselves, but they actually eat other pests. Tarantulas are noted for being “highly effective insectivores,” eating hearty amounts of the crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars that plague and bring to ruin gardens.
I know that when we see a spider, our initial reaction is repulsion. What Ayden helped me do, through his sweet and innocent prayer of thankfulness for tarantulas, was to consider that there is a purpose for all of God’s creations. The danger is that we sometimes form our own opinions rather quickly and simply smash the spider every chance we get. Granted, I completely understand that spiders are not exactly something I am comfortable being around and there are a few other species that I have trouble with. But when I think of God’s design in the whole ecosystem, I can see that each creature has a distinct role to fulfill. I’ve come to appreciate this more and more.
I then thought of humanity as God’s creation and the role and effect we have on the ecosystem. As Christians, we are to be the salt of the world (cf. Matt. 5:13). Salt is known for its preserving qualities and was used frequently to “cure” or preserve meat. Simply put, it was used to keep the meat from decaying or going bad. Spiritually speaking, if there would have been more “salt” than just Lot and his family, then Sodom and Gomorrah would have been preserved. However, as we find from the scriptures, God could not find even 10 righteous people in those cities and it was destroyed. We may only be one person in the whole world, but we make quite a difference in preserving and bringing stability to an unstable world.
When I look at a tarantula, I see a creature that has massive potential to do its part, fulfilling its role that God has given it. What happens if the tarantula or any other species that we deem to be “of no use” goes extinct? Simply put, destabilization.
Humans were created in the image of God (cf. Gen. 1:26,27) for a purpose. And yet, we’ve all sinned and fallen short. But God doesn’t view us as repulsive sinners, with His first thought being to squish us out of existence. Rather God sees the massive potential that we have to preserve a decaying society, showing others the need for the Lord and the stabilization His cause brings to an unstable sinful world.
Satan would love for us to be squished and eradicate the world of Christians (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8), for he sees us as “pests.” But we should always keep in mind that we are useful to the Master, our Creator (cf. 2 Tim. 2:21), called out of darkness into His marvelous light to proclaim praises of Him (cf. 1 Pet. 2:9,10). For me, I am thankful that the Lord was gracious and merciful to see me (one who is MORE repulsive than a spider, full of sin) as one who has potential to help rather than hurt. He was willing to give His only begotten Son to die so I could have forgiveness, remission of sins (cf. Rom. 5:6-8), for me to live out that purpose.
This article may not have made you feel any better about spiders, but I hope the next time you seen one you will stop and ponder about what you read today. Spiders, like humans, were created by God and have a purpose. As humans, we have the choice to help slow down the decay and destruction that sin brings, acting as the salt and light we have been called to be. Or we can choose to accelerate the decaying process, only bringing more destabilization to the already unstable world around us.
Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 🙂