“Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.” Ephesians 2:4-5
One of my all-time favorite kid’s stories is Charlotte’s Web, starring Charlotte the barnyard spider and Wilbur the pig. The farmer’s daughter, Fern, loved Wilbur and adopted him as her pet—until he was too big for the house and had to move to the barn. Wilbur missed Fern and felt sad about being away from her. Just when he thought things couldn’t get worse, the mother hen came on the scene.
She told Wilbur that her purpose in life was to lay eggs for people to eat, and the cow’s purpose was to give milk for the people to drink. Then came the real stinger: “Hey, Wilbur, do you know what your purpose is? Bacon!”
Needless to say, the hen was not a very encouraging friend!
Thankfully, Wilbur had a true friend. When Charlotte the spider found him wallowing in the muck of despair, she encouraged him with a resounding “Chin up, Wilbur!” She wove beautiful webs over his pen with words that made him feel loved and important. The webs attracted media publicity, and people from all over the area came to marvel at this “special pig.” When it was time for the county fair, Wilbur feared again for his life and asked Charlotte to weave one more web. She knew that she had only one more web to weave and that then she would die. But out of her love for Wilbur, she wove the most spectacular web yet to prove how special he was. The townspeople were so taken with the web that Wilbur’s impending death was no longer an issue.
I love the biblical parallels in this story. The most significant one being that Charlotte gave her life to save Wilbur’s. Not only that—but she made him a special pig!
Most of us can probably identify with Wilbur at some point. All of us face problems in life when we desperately need someone to come along and encourage us—a “chin up” friend. But, at the end of it all, before God we are all losers at heart and deserve to die as the penalty for our sin. Yet God in His grace died to save us from eternal death and condemnation. And, as though that weren’t enough, He makes us children of the King and fills us with hope and confidence regardless of life’s threats. Jesus is a friend for the doomed! We can either mope around our little barnyard of life, or we can get our chin up and believe that our friend Jesus is making something special of our lives.
Next time you’re feeling down in the dumps, rejoice in the fact that you have been rescued from the grave, promised eternal life, and are a child of the King.
Now that’s a “chin up” thought that can keep you going with hope and strength!
- What is your attitude toward the “Wilburs” you encounter?
- What is your reaction to the reality of God’s purpose and promise of eternal life?
- Will others find you wallowing in self-pity or rejoicing in the hope you have in Christ?
- In what ways can you be a “Charlotte”—bringing the good news of salvation and purpose to someone today?