Occasionally, though, I get thrown the analogical curveball or change up. Even then, with years of practical experience dealing with surprises, I’m rarely left struggling with what the right course of action to take might be.

That was not the rare case this particular Sunday. It was a no-win situation. While out of town we found a friendly little church a few years back while on vacation.

We were sitting about four rows back on the south side of the church closest to the front door, which is typically my style. I like to make a quick get away. Several minutes after the service started a very elderly man shuffled into the church, having a more legitimate use for a cane than anybody I’ve witnessed.

As the late comer eyed the seat directly in front of me, he hobbled, lost a bit of balance and bumped into me, helping to keep him upright. The elderly gentleman settled into the seat directly in front of me.

I knew that my new neighbor wasn’t going to be doing any standing for praying or singing… Though frail, I can’t remember a person singing with as much enthusiasm as the old timer. I’m not sure if the old guy knew he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket or not. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have mattered to him one way or the other. Just one of the gifts of being very elderly, or so I’ve heard.

The old fella had long, past his shoulders scraggly hair extending from the sides of his head with a worn, sun-spotted, round, bald spot on top.

During the middle of the service, something caught my eye on the old guy’s faded black windbreaker. I first thought it was a fly, but it quickly crawled from under his collar, just above his left shoulder. I did a double take as it moved quickly to the old guy’s back and over his right shoulder where it disappeared from my view.

That’s when I realized what it was… It was black, about a size and a half bigger than a horse fly with short, quick, legs. It was a black spider…

image courtesy of Orkin.com

There I was, at a loss for what to do or how to react. I knew the spider wasn’t a black widow, but I wasn’t completely positive it wasn’t poisonous.

In a church where no one knows me, I’m not sure how they would have reacted if I’d have gotten up and announced, “OK!!! – TIME OUT!!! – I’ve spotted a black spider on the old guy in front of me!!! – I think you’ll find the culprit hiding under his collar!!!”

I thought about using my bulletin as a spider swatter, but didn’t want them calling the cops for attacking an innocent old guy in the middle of a church service. Not to mention it might’ve caused him to have a heart attack.

It was a no-win proposition. What did I do? … I didn’t do anything except keep an eye out for the church going spider…

Then I prayed for the old man’s protection…

It’s all I could think of in a no win situation. Maybe that’s the problem with many of us… We wait until we’ve ran out of options… then pray…


  1. bill (cycleguy)
    Monday, August 27, 2018 @ 1:32 pm

    Ha. What a predicament. One of my favorite group’s (Theocracy) song talks about why do we wait to call upon you when our mighty towers fall, etc. Good question. Why do we wait until we seem to have no other option before we run to the Father?


  2. Dolly Lee
    Monday, August 27, 2018 @ 2:13 pm

    Oh wow…I was holding my breath as I read…I trust the guy made it through the service, ok…and I’m sure God heard and answered your prayers on behalf of that guy 🙂


  3. Pam
    Monday, August 27, 2018 @ 5:54 pm

    Oh Floyd, you are such a good story teller. You had me in suspense and then laughing and then wham, you hit me between the eyes with the truth of the situation. Thanks for sharing!


  4. Martha J Orlando
    Monday, August 27, 2018 @ 6:23 pm

    We run out of options, and then we pray . . . Let us remember to pray first, and let God’s chips fall where they may. Often we can help in the moment, sometimes, we can’t, but prayer is always an option. Great post, Floyd. Blessings!


  5. Dikkon Eberhart
    Monday, August 27, 2018 @ 6:48 pm

    Nice to read, Floyd. You pack a lot into a few sentences…and then your last phrase: great punch!


  6. Ed
    Tuesday, August 28, 2018 @ 12:42 am

    I recall that many people keep spiders for pets. Most likely it was his pet spider. Good thing you didn’t whack it!


  7. Lisa notes
    Tuesday, August 28, 2018 @ 10:05 am

    2010? I’ve been reading you a long time, Floyd! 🙂 Because I actually remember this (which is quite a feat for me to remember something I read 8 years ago, ha). That spider–and your words—made quite an impression on me. And they continue to now….


  8. Hazel Moon
    Tuesday, August 28, 2018 @ 10:34 am

    The old gentleman probably did not have a spider free home, and this one hid in his black windbreaker, cause he wanted to attend church that day. I am glad you did not swat the old gentleman. Good story Floyd


  9. Cheryl
    Wednesday, August 29, 2018 @ 10:43 am

    Wow ~ your writing skills are so amazing. You had me sitting on the edge of that church pew wondering what in the world you were going to do! I was trying to think what I would have done, too, and my, that was quite a predicament. You did the best possible thing you could for the old guy ~ pray. Why do we so often make it our last resort when it should be our first resource ~ such a great question to ponder today. Thank you, brother.


  10. Betty Draper
    Wednesday, August 29, 2018 @ 4:37 pm

    Your story telling has improved with age just as your reasoning skills and the ability to be calm. Calmness and spiders do not go together in my mind. Something I have learned since moving back to the USA versa living in a third world country. People living in the remote places all over the world without much but God to depend on go to pray first. We in America go to Him last. Abundance and ease of credit cards do not breed dependence on the Lord. Great story that caused a flow of idea in my mind and conviction since I can be self dependent at times.


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