It was July of 1989. En route to Milwaukee for a business meeting I decided to take a few extra days to visit old acquaintances along the way. While in Chicago I had opportunity to spend time with some dear college friends. On Friday evening we met for dinner at Timone’s, an authentic old neighborhood Italian restaurant. Our party gathered in a back corner around a red and white checker cloth covered table where our waitress kept our glasses full and the garlic bread piled high. For the better part of 90 minutes we swapped stories and laughed loud while we dined on Fettuccine Alfredo and Chicken Parmesan that was to die for.
After stuffing ourselves with this delicious food, the five of us decided to take a walk downtown along Michigan Avenue. It was a quintessential summer evening in the Windy City. Lots of hustle and bustle around the Old Water Tower and in the midst of incessant traffic, starry-eyed couples rode by in horse drawn carriages.
After a time we found ourselves in front of the John Hancock Building. Inside the lobby, a marble floor led to gold elevator doors. Nearby an elegantly dressed young woman seated behind a cherry wood desk rose to greet us. She politely asked our names before we stepped onto the elevator for a rocket ride to the top. The doors barely opened before a tuxedoed maitre de extended his hand, “Ah! Welcome! Good evening, Mr. Thompson” as if I dropped by every weekend for lobster with a view. It’s nice to be shmoozed once in awhile. But we won’t be dining under his chandeliers. We’ve already had dinner.
Above the restaurant was a lounge called “Images”. It’s on the 96th floor. We found an open table right next to the full length windows and though the night was partly overcast, the panorama of the city was breathtaking. Through wisps of clouds floating by we saw a giant blanket of multi-colored lights spread out in every direction. Below, tiny threads of freeway full of Friday night traffic rushed past the steady rolling waves, breaking gently along the shore of Lake Michigan.
Looking out from one of the highest vantage points in the city I couldn’t help but feel struck by the irony. It was for me the lowest time in my life. I faced problems and pain the scope of which I could never have imagined. My heart was broken. Over my shoulder I heard my buddy Mike punch-lining a joke. I didn’t think my tears would mix well with the laughter of my friends so I hid them behind a smile while twirling my swizzle stick counter-clockwise in my beverage. That’s when I first noticed it.
In the two inch gap between the inside window and the panes of glass attached on the outer structure of the skyscraper, was a spider. A big fat spider, bouncing quite comfortably in his wind blown web. On closer examination, I observed that he had friends; all apparently as healthy as he. This was curious. How can a spider be well fed 96 stories high on the outside of a skyscraper? Was he patronizing this fancy restaurant a couple times a week? Or do flies and other such spider cuisine hang out in the clouds, too?
Watching this eight-legged wonder, I was reminded that if God cares for spiders on the 96th floor, He would also take care of me.
He did. He has. And He does.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminds us that God the Father cares about all of life, right down to the smallest details. In Matthew 6 Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span?”
Jesus pointed to the birds of the air as proof of God’s provision. If He feeds the sparrows, how much more will He do for His children? God is a God of loving detail. His faithfulness and provision are freely given at every level. He takes care of us during times of peaceful order and He cares for us when we’re hiding our tears behind a smile. God is faithful.
Whatever problems you’re facing, whatever is breaking your heart, whatever it is that’s heavy on your mind while you’re twirling your swizzle stick…remember the fat spiders on the 96th floor of the John Hancock building. God takes very good care of them.
Don’t worry. God will take very good care of you, too.
“Cast all your care on Him, because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
Todd A. Thompson – June 25, 2003