Bitten By a Black Widow Spider

Female black widow spider guarding an egg case...

Image via Wikipedia

My wife, Sharon, is the only person I know who has been bitten by a black widow spider. One day she took her sweater from the coat rack, put it on and felt a sharp sting on her arm. She smashed her hand on the stinging spot, shook her sleeve and the flattened spider fell out. The telltale red hourglass-shaped marking on its shiny black body confirmed what it was. Sharon sealed her attacker in a plastic bag and took it with her as she drove to the hospital.

Everyone at the emergency room was excited because no one had ever seen, much less treated, anyone with a black widow bite. It seemed to Sharon the entire hospital staff stopped by to inspect the spider and the bite marks on her arm.

I was excited too when summoned from an out of town meeting to take a phone call. Sharon told the story and assured me the doctor said everything was okay. The anti-venom was on its way from Atlanta and would be at the hospital in a few hours. Most importantly, she had no extreme symptoms. I trusted her assurances, but it was still a long trip home to see for myself.

The doctor administered the anti-venom when it arrived that evening. Sharon spent the night in the hospital for observation and was released the next morning. Thankfully, the worst effects of the bite were the five days of mental fog she endured from the prescribed mega-doses of antihistamines.

“How did a black widow spider get in her sweater?” I claim the dubious honor as the agent of that. It was winter and we were using the fireplace, so at times I brought in pieces of wood and stacked them on the floor next to the wall. If you picture the wood on the floor next to the wall and move your gaze up, you come to…the coat rack. Apparently, the spider hitchhiked inside on a piece of wood, crawled up the wall looking for a dark hiding place and chose Sharon’s sweater sleeve.

Spiders don’t hide in our sweaters or coats anymore, because, after that episode I don’t bring wood inside the house like that.  I learned the lesson that even things that can be good (wood for warmth) can bring things in that you don’t want in your house (poisonous spiders).

We as Christians need to diligently apply that lesson to many things – the television, books and magazines, music and the radio, and especially the internet.  We are called to be holy because our God is holy, and in order to do that we must be careful of those unholy things waiting to bite us when we least expect it.

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”  Pro 4:23, ESV

6 thoughts on “Bitten By a Black Widow Spider

  1. Ouch! When I was child, my dad was bit on the hand by a black widow spider, and his hand swelled, but I don’t remember any medical treatment. He’s seventy-three and still going strong. I hope Sharon is feeling better.
    God Bless You and your family!

  2. Hi Bill,
    I’m a new member of the Blog Chain. I read your “savor” post about small beginnings, but I didn’t comment even though I really liked it. So, I came back, read about the spider bite, and decided to comment on this instead.

    You are so right about unwelcome surprises hiding inside the good things. You used a very effective illustration to convey this truth. Good choice of Scripture, too.

    Anymore, it seems like life has an abundance of pitfalls, traps, poison, snares, you name it. In fact, many false teachers and cults purposely use “sugar coating” on their lures to trap innocent sheep. I feel especially bad for young people, and young Christians these days. Yet, none of us is out of danger. I’m so grateful that we can run to our strong tower and be safe!!

    Thanks for an interesting and timely reminder. 🙂

    • Thanks very much Sandi – you are so right about the dangers around us, and the sugar coating. And especially the fact that we can turn to God to protect us and guide us.
      You’re very welcome and I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      Also glad you started with the blog chain – I started in January (I think) and it’s been fun but also challenging.

  3. You definitely have that right! For one thing we are living in such a sensuous society, for another there is so much “fluff” with which we can occupy our time.

    Also, there’s so much stuff we can purchase to promote a certain image and feed our pride — and we can get so attached to it, too. Someday, we’re told, all our lovely collections of STUFF will burn.

    I enjoy humor, I enjoy fiction–both reading and writing. But it does sober me when I read II Peter Chapter 3, especially verse 11: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.”

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