I have started a series of columns looking at nursery rhymes and what they might offer Christians in the way of godly reflection. The previous column looked at Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Here we ponder the Itsy Bitsy Spider.
It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results. When I sing the nursery rhyme, ‘Its Bitsy Spider’ to my son, I’m often reminded of this expression (particularly as I seem to sing it over, and over, and over, and over...you get the idea!).
The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout.
Down came the rain
and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun
and dried up all the rain
and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.
The stuff of nightmares
I am personally a fan of waterslides. Yet one of my recurring nightmares is having a fun time riding down a waterslide, slipping around a corner and with such momentum, flying off the edge and tumbling down, and down and hitting the ground.
It makes me a little nervous now, to face another waterslide, lest my worst dream should somehow come true.
But look at this persistent spider. He’s not put off by a washout. I consider him to a a bit of a battler really (and there’s nothing Australians love more than a good Aussie battler!). Not only does he climb up the waterspout once (to what end, I wonder?) but after a washout, off he goes to climb up again!
I get knocked down...but I get up again (somehow)
It’s a little bit like life, isn’t it? We climb up the waterspout, striving for our goals and dreams. But there’s no such thing as a free ride. At some point, the heavens will open, the rains will pour and down, down, we will tumble, landing on the ground in a sodden, undignified heap.
How does Itsy Bitsy find the courage to climb up the waterspout, knowing that at any time, yet again, the rain could come and knock him down?
How do we find the courage the pick ourselves up and prepare to climb once again?
Some people will reach out for help from family and friends. Others will be independent and “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”. Others might struggle to get up again.
Christians get up again by the strength of God
As a Christian, of course, I find comfort and solace seeking the help of God.
Because quite often, when these downpours come, I don’t have the strength within myself to get back up again. I’d like to, I really would. And maybe for the first obstacle. Or the second...but life is basically a series of successes and setbacks. Climbs and washouts. I am much more confident when I know that God is with me in both of these; He is my strength.
So my strategy is lifted straight from Psalm 121:
1I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
I also find verses about faith and perseverance (and there’s heaps!) and it reminds me that, even in my struggles, I can be joyful and I can be assured of God’s love for me and his ongoing presence in my life.
And I might even find a bit of inspiration and comfort in a simple nursery rhyme about a little spider who climbed, fell, and yet, when the time was right, proceeded to climb right up that waterspout once again.
Sarah Urmston is a follower of Jesus whose current season of life sees her fully occupied by raising two gorgeous young children with her husband Stephen. In moments when time allows for pursuits of the heart, Sarah loves to keep in touch with friends (especially thanks to Facebook), sing and play piano, and enjoy a good cup of tea.
Sarah Urmston's previous articles may be viewed