Wednesday 7 March 2018

Spiders, Cockroaches, and FEAR

When I was a child growing up in my little Australian coastal community, I admit to having one major phobia: cockroaches. I’m not talking about those little shiny ones that avoid you as much as you avoid them.

No, I’m talking about the monstrous ones that fly (yes, fly) through the house. They have the potential to land anywhere, and mostly they landed on me—in my hair, on my back, on my face. We had one bad year where they attacked us in plague proportions. I remember my Dad telling us that he woke up one night with one biting him on the leg. Needless to say, all insect screens were repaired proto. But this time of terror meant that for many years, I fell into fits of fear every time I saw one of these flying menaces.

Then one day I saw something truly uplifting.

I saw my evil cockroach nemesis trapped in a massive spider’s web.

Okay, so I understand that for many of you, the mere mention of a spider will inspire fits of terror similar to my cockroach meltdowns, but for me this was an anxiety breakthrough. There was something out there bigger, smarter, and more powerful than that cockroach. Its flying prowess meant nothing. In fact, flying hindered it, because if it hadn’t flown, it wouldn’t have gotten stuck in the web.

As I watched the roach fight to break free, I marvelled at how close I could get to it without those feelings of anxiety kicking in. The cockroach was powerless, contained in that web by a creature that so many fear, and yet—for that moment—a creature I delighted in. The spider was my friend. In that moment it had dispelled my fear, and taught me a lesson: that fear is exhausting.

I made a decision.

From that moment on, I wasn’t going to be afraid of the massive flying cockroach. It didn’t deserve to inspire all the jumping around, screaming and crying I did in its presence, because it was so weak it couldn’t even get out of a spider’s web. With that one decision, the cockroaches’ reign of terror in my life was over.

From that day on I completely changed tactic. If one of them crossed my path, it collided with the underside of my shoe. If it dared to fly towards me, it got belted into oblivion. Pest spray, flip-flops, rolled up magazines, even the hard part of my palm became weapons.

I was on a one-woman cockroach eradication mission.

Every time the memory of my fear surfaced, I envisioned the roach in the web. I proclaimed it to be weak, because it ultimately relied on my fear to live.

In my quite moments of contemplation, I wondered if all fear is a little like this story. Substitute the cockroach for any creature, any fear, any sin, and the lesson is the same. There is always a creature bigger, a sacrifice greater, and a power mightier than anything that hurts you.

Think of Jesus as the spider and the cross as the web. All sin and fear was trapped that day. It was knocked into oblivion. All that is needed for us to gain freedom is our decision to believe the truth that we are free.

The Bible has many references to fear, many instructions not to succumb to fear. Memes have been created to remind us not to give in to fear. It’s easy to fall into fear in a global environment of terror, anxiety, and the acceptance of immorality as normality. But I’ve come to realise that all fear is like the cockroach— an insect that only had power over me because I feared it.

When I knew better, I chose better. The decision to put it in its place was my first step to overcoming.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NIV

Fear, anxiety, worry—they all have a place.

But it’s not with you.

It’s trapped on the cross with Jesus.

Making the decision to put fear where it is has the potential to change your life, and your perspective. Like my cockroach, fear will keep coming for you, long after you decide where it stands, but seek the tools to fight it off. There are many verses in the Bible that will show you the way. I have detailed a few below.

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened." 1 Peter 3:14 (NIV)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 1:8 (NIV)
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 (NIV)

I can’t sign off this column without one last call–out to my friendly neighbourhood spiders. Okay, so many I come across around our outback bush camp here in Australia are not so little, but they do serve a significant purpose. Please enjoy some photos I’ve taken recently of the spiders in my neighbourhood.

First seen in Book Fun Magazine;

Rose was born in North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her Resolution series.
Two of the three Resolution novels have won Australian CALEB awards. She has also released The Greenfield Legacy, a collaborative novel highlighting the pain of Australia’s past policy of forced adoption, as well as standalone novel, Ehvah After. Her most recent release is the novella, A Christmas Resolution.
Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and her desire to produce stories that point readers to Jesus. Rose holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, and resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband and son.
Visit Rose at:


  1. Wow! Hard core you, smacking them with the hard part of your palm! Love this analogy, love the web of the cross and Jesus as the ultimate. Thanks for this great reminder!

    1. And my palm does not discriminate. A spider that get's too close cops the same hard core response. But only if I don't have a shoe handy. ;-) xo

  2. Fabulous blog Rose! I will forever think of my sin and fear trapped on the cross as though to sticky web!

    1. Thank you, Steph. Since writing this I also have that visual in my mind. xo

  3. As a child, I was petrified of moths. I don't recall why I stopped being afraid of them. Love your story and your faith. xx

    1. It's strange, because my son is afraid of spiders. Being up at our bush camp has brought him out of that though. He's surrounded by them. xo

  4. "All that is needed for us to gain freedom is our decision to believe the truth that we are free."

    I'm still to get over my dislike of cockroaches. But at least now I can remember it's only a dislike, not a fear! Thanks, Rose :)


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