A Scottish Spiderman


How a wee spider saved one of Scotland's greatest heroes.

Next to William Wallace of ‘Braveheart’ fame, Robert the Bruce is one of Scotland’s greatest heroes. He led the Scottish forces to victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. It was a victory that ensured Scottish independence and enabled the Scots people to enjoy their freedom for several centuries.

Podcast version here Like Wallace before him, Robert the Bruce had many setbacks and almost gave in to despair. At one point, he was a fugitive and spent the night in a cold, damp cave in order to hide from his enemies. He had reached the lowest point of his life and felt his struggle to win independence for Scotland was not worth the trials and tribulations he endured.

The story is told that he watched a spider trying to spin a web at the mouth of the cave. It kept trying to hook itself to a ridge, but kept failing and falling. Bruce was fascinated with the attempts that the spider made to latch itself on to the cave, but felt that it was futile. However, the wee spider persevered and eventually managed to accomplish its task. Soon the mouth of the cave was covered with a web.

This inspired Bruce to rethink his own unsuccessful campaign. If he and his Scottish army persevered, then perhaps they could win their freedom. After all, thought Bruce, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again.’ For the first time in what seemed like ages, Bruce slept soundly in the cave.

What he didn’t know was that his enemies were nearby, scouring the land and searching for him. When they came to the cave, they almost entered it and would have found the sleeping Bruce defenseless. But they passed it by. Why? Because of the spider’s web. His enemies wrongly thought that because the web was unbroken, no one had entered the cave. The wee spider had not only inspired Bruce, it had actually saved his life.

Jeremiah 32:39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them.

When Jeremiah speaks of “singleness of heart and action”, he is talking about perseverance and endurance. His people have wavered in their religious beliefs, causing them to be disunited and divided, which in turn made them easily conquered by their enemies. Jeremiah’s prophecy is about a time when God will put all things right and His people will not be diverted or distracted from fully worshiping and believing in God.

As Christians, we are the heirs of that prophecy. God has given us His Son Jesus to worship and glorify. When we focus upon Him and place our lives into His Hands, we are inspired to lead better lives because He sets us free from our sinful past and leads us towards a more promising future. In Him, we are given meaning for our lives; through Him, we are restored to God’s love and favor forevermore.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You for succeeding over sin and winning the battle with evil and death. Your singleness of heart and action led You to the Cross at Calvary, which in turn granted us the hope of forgiveness and the opportunity of everlasting life. We owe everything to You, so we place our lives into Your hands for Your service, mission and Kingdom. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart traqair@aol.com

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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