Have you heard of the Goliath Bird Eating Spider? If not, Google it and/or do a YouTube search. I’d never heard of this gigantic tarantula until last night when Mrs. Sweetie and I spent time with an amazing young woman and her family.
A 2009 graduate of Azle High School, where she was a classmate and friend of our favorite son, she went on to complete a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Baylor University and is now working toward a master’s in sustainability from Arizona State. As a part of this degree, she leaves tomorrow to spend the next 27 months working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea, West Africa, teaching seventh – through 10th grade – chemistry.
Oh, I almost forgot she’ll be teaching in French.
She told us last night about the application process: page after page of “yes” or “no” questions. Are you willing to live for 27 months in a mud hut without running water electricity a toilet? Do you understand that you are likely to contract malaria while you are there that any mail from home will take at least six weeks to arrive and will likely have been opened by the time you receive it that the nearest PC volunteer on your team will be 70 miles away?
She also told us that the natives like to initiate visitors by throwing the Goliath Spider at them to see how they react.
This is a 23-year-old girl, for crying out loud! On her blog, she lists the top 10 reasons why she is joining the Peace Corps. No. 1: “I believe that Christians should be leading the world in service to others. If we are truly following the teachings of Christ, Christians should be the kindest, most loving, giving and compassionate people on the earth. Not only that, but we should be willing to do anything on faith, if God has called us to it. One of the first things I heard about the PC was, ‘there aren’t a lot of Christians in the Peace Corps,’ which was not only shocking to me, but disturbing. If what I said above is true, then people who aren’t Christians are doing a better job of acting like Christians than we are.”
Her story reminds me of the David and Goliath story in 1 Samuel 17. Space available here does not allow the whole story, but here are David’s words to Goliath in verses 45-46: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me.”
Our lives matter so much to God that He promises to be our strength, our source and to fight our battles for us if we surrender ourselves to Him. Your Goliath may not be a giant spider, but you have access to the same God.
Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association headquartered in Decatur.