The Persistence of a Spider

pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

This morning I thought about persistence and pushing through the odds. Never giving up. Never quitting, although you feel very much like doing so. And I thought of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, who ascended the throne February 10, 1306 at 31 and was driven into hiding by the English occupation army of Edward I.

In 1328 the Treaty of Edinburgh between King Robert I and Edward III recognized Scotland’s independence ending the 30 years of war for independence. King Robert the Bruce of Scotland died the next year in 1329.

Okay, nice history lesson, but what has that got to do with persevering?

pixabayDid you ever hear the legend of King Robert and the spider?

I don’t know when I first heard the story, but I know I was still in early elementary school.

That’s a pretty long time for me to still remember the story and want to mention it to you today, don’t you think?

I checked Education Scotland to make sure I had my facts straight, and you know what? I did. 🙂

Here’s how Education Scotland puts it:

It is said that in the early days of Bruce’s reign he was defeated by the English and driven into exile. He was on the run – a hunted man. He sought refuge in a small dark cave and sat and watched a little spider trying to make a web.

Time and time again the spider would fall and then climb slowly back up to try again.

If at first you don’t succeed – try, try again.

Finally, as the Bruce looked on, the spider managed to stick pixabaya strand of silk to the cave wall and began to weave a web.

Robert the Bruce was inspired by the spider and went on to defeat the English at the Battle of Bannockburn.

The legend as it is now told was first published by Sir Walter Scott in ‘Tales of a Grandfather’ in 1828, more than 500 years after the Battle of Bannockburn. It is thought that Scott may have adapted a story told about Sir James Douglas.

Caves across Scotland and Ireland are said to be the legendary cave of Bruce and the spider: the King’s Cave at Drumadoon on Arran; King Robert the Bruce’s Cave in Kirkpatrick Fleming near Lockerbie; Bruce’s Cave – Uamh-an-Righ, Balquhidder Glen; Bruce’s Cave on Rathlin Island.

pixabayMy takeaway from the Bruce’s story is to not give up no matter how the odds are stacked against you.

Even if  you feel as if you’re up against a brick wall.

Keep fighting until the very end. Keep trying. Keep looking for a way through.

Health concerns seem hopeless…keep fighting.

Job loss…keep fighting.

Finances are dismal…keep fighting.

Relationships have hit the skids…keep fighting.

Remember the Bruce and his spider, that persistent little arachnid who refused to accept defeat.

More importantly, remember who we belong to.

We belong to the Creator of the Universe.

If he can create a spider that weaves amazing webs onto the sides of damp caves, he can weave amazing things out of our lives if we hold onto him, don’t give up, and allow him to work in and through us.

Any of you remember hearing this tale before? Any stories of persistence you’ve witnessed you’d like to share?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this please share it through the social media buttons.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5 (TLB)

I wish you well.


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It wouldn’t be a post about Scotland without a song by Dougie! 😉

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shirley johnson

Great Post!

Samantha Ann

Great encouragement, Sandy! I’ve never heard that story before, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. 🙂

It never ceases to amaze me how God can teach us through the littlest details of his Creation, if we’re willing to look and listen. Thanks for sharing.