Spiders in the Sandbox
by Kimberly B. Southall

While playing outside recently, my 3-year-old son came running to me quite exasperated. "Mommy! There's bird poop on my sandbox lid!" he exclaimed. Trying not to show my amusement, I explained that was the purpose for the lid. Otherwise, without the lid, it would be in the sand. "Oh," my son replied before returning to the sandbox.

Well, my son pulled the lid off the sandbox. Just a few moments later, he was back with another report--there were spiders in his sandbox. Knowing they were the harmless variety, I suggested he simply shovel sand over them. When he continued with his protest about the spiders, I went to the sandbox to investigate. Sure enough, there were a couple of small spiders visible in the sand (and undoubtedly many more hiding within the sand). I instructed my son to play anyway, for there wasn't any way to get all of the spiders out of the sand.

Now, what's the moral of this story? If we apply it to our Christian lives, we could make a comparison between the bird excrement on the sandbox lid and the filth Satan throws our way and the protection of the Holy Spirit. For that's the purpose of the Holy Spirit--to shield us spiritually from the filth and adversities of this world. With the sandbox lid, the filth is there and visible and nasty, but as long as the lid is in place, it won't contaminate the sand. Likewise, with the Holy Spirit in place in our lives, He shields our souls from becoming contaminated by the filth and troubles of this world.

Now for the spiders. Remember they were in the sandbox. We could compare the spiders to those people in the church who sometimes frighten, exasperate, repel, or irritate us. It could be a gossip, a "trouble-maker," a "wolf in sheep's clothing," a hypocrite, or perhaps just someone who innocently "rubs us the wrong way."

Just like the spiders in the sandbox, there's not a whole lot we can do about it. We can "shovel sand over them," but as my son said, "They just keep crawling out!" Those "spiders" will always still be there. And worrying about their presence or just refusing to "play in the sand" are not good alternatives, either. There will always be "spiders in the sandbox" and those "in" the church who occasionally make things less than enjoyable. Each of us must dig until we find some clean sand and keep right on playing!

Copyright © 1997 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.