When Life Give Ya Tarantulas

A few days ago, I held a tarantula: a real live, palm-sized, poisonous, hairy tarantula. As my team and I hiked through the ancient Mayan ruins on our free day last Monday, we came across this little Guatemalan man casually taking his pet tarantula for a stroll. He asked our group if anyone wanted to hold it, but warned us that if the tarantula felt our blood pressure spike from fear, it may bite! So naturally, I grabbed the tarantula right out of his hands without a second thought. As the little monster began spinning a web between my fingers, I though to myself, “if I was scared right now, I could be dead.” But for some reason, I wasn’t scared. You may be thinking of how reckless and foolish I am for imposing this death sentence upon myself (I prefer to call it bravery) but the point of this story isn’t the creepy, crawly tarantula. You see, God revealed an impactful life lesson to me through that little guy. The Lord reminded me that in life, we’re all going to have poisonous, intimidating tarantulas handed to us every now and then. It is inevitable. However, our God gives us an internal strength and trust to grab hold of that spider like it’s the last piece of pizza at our 9th birthday party. He protects us from the poisonous bite of life by changing us from the inside out so that we may take each challenge with confidence, trust, and joy! And ya know what? It makes for a pretty cool story to share in the end. I mean, seriously…I held a TARANTULA!

Anyway, last week I also met the living embodiment of this little tarantula lesson: a woman who lives by the most extreme faith and trust I’ve ever heard. Her name is Rachelle. She grew up in the United States until she moved to Guatemala City 14 years ago as a missionary. On Thursday, she made the trip out to Puerto Barrios to check out our garbage dump ministry. After our long day loving on people at the dump, she accompanied me at the dinner table and poured out her whole life story (and my jaw hit the floor repeatedly). Moving to Guatemala with her husband, they soon adopted 3 young children and began ministry wherever God led them. However, shortly after the move, her husband abandoned her and the family for another woman. So, Rachelle was left with her three children, no money, a house she couldn’t afford, and no plans. Preparing to fight for half of her husband’s money, she heard The Lord tell her to let it be and live off of faith. With three dollars in her bank account (literally), she stepped out of the bank and said to The Lord, “I don’t know how you’re going to do it…but I trust you. Give me strength to praise you in this storm, Lord.”

Fast-forward 14 years…Rachelle has a home for her and her children, three meals on the table every day, money to send her children to school, and continues to serve in ministry on a daily basis. Without a job and without even a savings account, The Lord has faithfully provided for her, her family, and her ministry day by day. Sometimes she receives random donations, but other times her friends will simply feel a tug on their heart to provide a resource they have to offer. Regardless, Rachelle never makes her needs known to anyone but God. Her plan of attack is simply to pray and trust. She went on to tell me story upon story of times when The Lord provided in such incredible ways! One night, her family had no money for dinner. So, what did they do? They sat at the dinner table, prayed, and waited. Ten minutes later, a neighbor knocked on the door with a freshly cooked meal that The Lord had told her to prepare for the family. Fifteen minutes later, the milkman knocks on the door offering milk that was going to spoil due to his truck’s malfunction right outside her house. Time and time again, The Lord has honored Rachelle’s trust and protected her and her family through such miracles!

But don’t get me wrong…the circumstances of Rachelle’s life are NOT easy. She has been put at gunpoint in the streets several times, lives without any modern comforts, has absolutely no clue what the future holds, and has had to face the trauma of a broken marriage. However, she lives her life by faith, crying out to God like she breathes. When she’s been attacked, God brings supernatural fear to the attacker and causes them to flee from her. When she is weary, God gives her renewed strength and blessings to keep her steadfast. When she is unsure about the future, God’s plan prevails. When she suffered the deepest heartbreak of abandonment, God somehow gave her the strength to genuinely forgive her ex-husband and even dance with the stepmother at her son’s wedding. Life has handed Rachelle so many tarantulas. But God has proved to be SO MUCH BIGGER than even the nastiest of spiders. He keeps her blood pressure steady to resist the poisonous bite; He enables her to praise Him in the storm. He is faithful.

Rachelle’s story has inspired me in so many ways. Never once has she asked The Lord to take away her pain, relieve her from the obstacles of life, or tell her what’s next. She simply asks for strength and trust to conquer each day. Then, by her deep-rooted trust in the Lord’s provision, she gives what little she does have to those who own even less. And for the last fourteen years (and many more to come), God has never, ever, ever, EVER failed her! Our God’s plan and provision is supreme and immovable. What’s going to happen is going to happen, and nothing we do or don’t do will change that! However, we can ask God to change our hearts and perspectives to approach each circumstance in JOY. By this strategy, we may grab hold of the tarantula like it’s the last present under the Christmas tree and have the story to share and inspire others for generations. I don’t know about you, but I want to live more like Rachelle. I want a faith that surpasses the world and brings indescribable joy. I want to let my timeless, all-knowing dad in Heaven steer my life for me. I want to give up control. I want faith and trust to be my foundation. I want to live more like Jesus.

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