Never despair,” says the natural world. A little drama was played out in my garden. Two birds made five attempts to rear a family. The first nest was forsaken when a cat attacked the sitting bird. When the next two nests were built, the hen was again set upon, was blinded in one eye, and had a wing damaged. In the fourth, again tragedy came, for two babies were found dead on the grass. For a few days the parent birds flew about in obvious distress, and then began building their fifth nest. Nature is like that! It does not admit defeat. Only man loses heart and despairs.
Who can tell how the history of Scotland might have been altered but for the perseverance of the little spider associated with the thirteenth-century story of Robert the Bruce, the greatest and best known of the Scottish kings. In a hut in a dark forest lay a young man in despair. He had tried his utmost to free Scotland from its English enemies, and had failed again and again. Almost ready to abandon the struggle, he caught sight of a spider above his head trying to swing by its slender thread from one beam to another. The tiny creature missed its goal six times, the exact number of Bruce’s lost battles. “If it can try again,” he said to himself, “then surely so can I.” He watched the spider swing once more—and win! Robert the Bruce rose to fight again, and became the hero of his people.
The hopefulness of nature is seen in all her ways. Disturb an ant colony and, as though trained in military discipline, each ant will accept its responsibility and carry an egg to safety, so that within a couple of minutes not one of the precious things is left in sight.
Part of man’s trouble is the wrong use of his imagination. He observes the dark clouds and forgets that they have a silver lining. Like Christian in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, he sees the lions in the way and does not notice that they are chained.
No one would guess from the writings of the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson that most of them were produced while he was fighting a desperate battle with ill health. When he started to write his delightful and beloved Child’s Garden of Verses, which has in it the words, “I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings,” one of his lungs as well as his eyes became badly affected. What kept him going? Courage, and faith in God.
God will show us the way if we seek His guidance. A situation is desperate only when all hope is abandoned.
James Morgan, Nature Speaks