The day was almost over. Street-lighting shone its artificial bright outside my room but here inside all was warm glow, cosy and snug.

I lay curled up, still reading when common-sense dictated closure was sensible, but I wanted to devour my book for just a little bit longer.

A vague dark shadow, accompanied by a light tapping noise, made me look around, and I didn’t like what I saw.

My eyes came face to face with a hairy intruder. I startled and screamed.

Spiders and I have never been the best of friends.

I’d only tried to be brave in dealing with them over the years so as to not give my children/husband any reason to be otherwise.

I can just about handle the little greyish-brown common-or-garden variety, but encountering a larger black furry one makes me want to run away.

A needs-must situation meant grabbing the nearest thing at hand. Out came a tissue and down swooped my hand.

As I gingerly prised it apart, I was dismayed to discover that the arachnoid had the upper hand instead of me.

He (they’re always a he in my mind) had escaped my clutches, curled small and scuttled swift away. What could I do now?

The only thing for it was to put brighter lights on and do a systematic check of everything around the bed. I began timidly before my OH took over the task.

Stacks of books, pens, notepads, tissues, phone, clock, throat sweets etc were duly removed one by one, bedclothes rolled back and shaken, pillows too.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Not a sausage, and no spider either.

We soon realised there was nothing for it but to return to bed and try to sleep regardless... gulp! Are you kidding? He’s still around somewhere.

What if he makes a return revenge visit during the night and brings some friends with him?

And as I lay there worried (ridiculous, right, considering his size and ours?) and wary, sleep was fitful and I woke more exhausted than usual.

Then, as I thought about things in the morning, I remembered that my husband had only just cleaned the room a couple of days beforehand.

Considering its previously dirty state with dust-bunnies breeding all over the place (please don’t judge) maybe he’d disturbed some spiders and they were looking for a new place to hide.

Isn’t that similar to what happens when we decide to clean up our act before God, to live a purer life, seek His face more, pray with greater persistence, live All In for Him?

Because the sneaky enemy of our souls finds a weak spot (or more) to crawl into and disturb us, making us feel that we’re defeated before we get started.

Guilt and condemnation come. A multiplicity of mundane frustrations fall our way. Problems abound. Discouragement sits heavy in our souls.

A dark shadow pervades our days and we feel far from the Lord. He seems to be silent and far from us too, although His word promises He never leaves nor forsakes us.

Maybe we even consider why we bother to be wholehearted about our faith if it leads to This?

Well let me tell you, my friend, I’ve discovered it’s always worthwhile to follow hard after God. Yes, especially when life gets harder.

The benefits far outweigh the potential for upsets. Those problems and pitfalls, the dark nights of the soul? They’re proof that you’re only human and you’re on the right road.

The enemy has no reason to bother you unless you’re a threat to him.

We cannot aim to get closer to God without expecting greater testing and temptation to come our way. It’s a given.

He is refining the dross from us, purifying motives and intent, sifting and saving us even as we struggle. Holding us close in the midnight hours.

Our reactions and responses to trials are what count as we learn how to grow into Christ-likeness.

Are we allowing the enemy to make us act unwisely? Or are we discerning his wiles and acting in accordance with God’s will?

Some times will be easier than others in living as an overcomer. We’re weak; we fail and falter. But there is grace for it all.

Some troubles are just too huge to work through quickly. We may need extra support from others, possibly professional help, and time to recover our equilibrium.

We need to maintain a daily dependence on God, and keep our heavenly armour on as we walk the way of faith.

Perseverance and persistence will have its way in us as we look to the Lord at all times, because God rewards all who diligently seek after Him, no matter what it looks or feels like right now.

Things won’t always be this bad and we will learn a lot through our problematic and painful circumstances, through surrender, through seeking His face in the midst of it all.

I don’t want to let fear get the upper-hand or prevent me from pursuing my potential and destiny in Christ, and I guess you don’t either.

So, with hindsight, I’m actually grateful for the spider’s visit. He brought about this reflection, and a deepening trust in God to see me through all the troubling events I may yet encounter.

I just need to remember that as I crawl beneath the covers again, with a beady eye kept open… just in case. And to let God’s light in on any dark areas that may emerge.

*NOTE* ~  My inspiring writer friend, Heather Mertens, is particularly passionate about living #ALLIN for Jesus. She has a mission to live more powerfully for Jesus.