Of Spiders and Abandoned Gardens: Reflections on the National Day of Prayer

By David Ramos

“I went to by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction [Proverbs 24:30—32].

Yesterday was the National Day of Prayer so after a congregational corporate prayer I felt the need to escape alone, to meditate, to seek God’s face and listen. I went to this small, hidden enclave on the grounds of our campus, nestled in the midst of trees. There, worn by years of rain and snow, were a couple of wood and iron benches that were broken down.

I remember when I first discovered this enclave that the grounds were kept and there were some plants around it, now branches that had fallen off the trees surrounded the broken benches as only a few planks precariously remained on the bench. Sitting there alone I listened as the warm sunlight shined though the branches of the trees around me. There I felt sorrow over the condition of this enclave. I thought of the beauty of the location although I was sure that most did not even know it existed. I had stumbled upon it by accident one day when my “adventure gene” pulled me into the woods to explore. More than likely it was left un-kept because it didn’t serve a function or wasn’t deemed important by some.

It was then when I saw it; the sunlight glistened off a barely perceivable stand of spider web. I marveled at the distance of this one strand that linked one bench to another and formed a kind of bridge between them both, there was one strand that moved horizontally across and another that ran vertically down to the ground. I pondered at the work of these master architects and the structures they build as the spider web seemed to triumph over the wood and iron. We often think of spider webs as weak and tenuous, however, have you ever attempted to take off tenacious spider strands off your face?

There in woods I couldn’t help but think that as Christians many of us have abandoned the sacred garden of prayer, the time we spend with our master, not to ask for stuff but just to be in His presence, not to dwell in power as the world understands power, but a spiritual power that comes upon you as you travail on behalf of others. Sometimes our man-made structures collapse into disarray when exposed to the elements of life, while our perceived “weak efforts” triumph and glisten in the sun because they possess vertical and horizontal characteristics. Many times our work is hidden, it is unseen by the crowd because it is in an enclave and even when some look upon it, it is not perceived until perhaps, by some off chance, the sun shines upon it and it glistens in the light.

“There are four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make their houses in the rocks; The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces [Proverbs 30:24—28].

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