Reflections on Fathers, Spiders, Superheroes and Jesus

By Melissa McLaughlin

Memory of Dad

Dads often carry the title of a child’s first superhero of sorts. Who doesn’t love a strong, brave protector and provider?

My dad held this role in my heart for several acts of uncommon bravery. One of which involved my most hated fear…a spider.

I was convinced it was a tarantula.

My older brother and I were sound asleep upstairs, when all of a sudden, my eyes snapped open. I felt it. Slowly, slowly creeping up my leg. Lurking underneath the blankets, I detected the weight of something small but heavy against my leg- moving, skulking, sneaking. Something horrible, something dreaded, something evil. A spider! I knew it. It must be a spider. A giant spider! My worst nightmare come true!

Every muscle in my body was locked and tense. My hands and toes clenched, I was unable to twitch even a finger, so I did the only thing I could, I howled for help at the top of my lungs, waking my older brother who had been asleep in his bed nearby. In total confusion, urged on by my panic, he shot off to get my dad. Dads know how to combat Godzilla spiders in the middle of the night.

Dad bolted upstairs with his weapon of choice, the kitchen broom. After quickly assessing the situation, Dad asked why I didn’t jump out of bed and get away from this hostile creature. With eyes wide open, lips quivering and voice shaking, I whimpered my clear explanation. There was simply no way I could move with such a monstrous, hideous, heavy-weight spider on my leg. I was frozen in place, chained to my fear, unable to breathe, not daring to lift even a corner of the blanket to peek below and see this most heinous of sights.

In one bold and decisive move, Dad bared his muscles and bravely flung open the covers, exposing this nightmare to the mighty force of his undaunted strength and fearless prowess!

Out jumped… a mouse!

I screamed with all my might while my dad and brother chased the mouse around the room, armed with the kitchen broom and a baseball bat my brother found leaning against his closet door. The chase ensued for several minutes with flailing of broom and slamming of bat. Now that my dad and brother were furiously hunting down the gargantuan mouse-spider, I could finally gasp for air.

I honestly don’t remember how the mouse fared. I only remember the feeling of being rescued from the most hated terror in all my life, a spider. Okay, in the end it was actually a mouse, but I still remember the event with the fear of a tarantula slinking around on my leg. My dad protected me from a real-life nightmare. Now that is a superhero in my comic book!

Even better than an earthly dad or comic book superhero though, my dad pointed me toward Jesus, the superhero for all time. I am truly grateful that my husband has done the same for our children. For a life resting in Jesus is a life of eternal protection and provision that never grows old, never loses its power and is never defeated by an enemy.

As I reflect on my father, my husband and other father-figures in my life, I have been graced to observe many honorable and Christ-like qualities of love, forgiveness, humility, grace, helpfulness, thoughtfulness and joy in God’s blessings. In my childhood home and in my present home, though far from perfect, my dad and my husband have exhibited these traits and more. Through it all, they have provided and protected with a blanket of safety and love, offering a tiny glimpse of our heavenly Father’s provision, protection and love.

Biblical Fathers

When I remember examples of Biblical fathers, though flawed and imperfect like our earthly dads, we see many fathers who provided other glimpses of our heavenly Father.

In Genesis 6-8, we witness Noah following God in every way and with God’s help, then providing for and protecting his family from the great flood. Noah was a Godly man and a family man. A protector and provider.

We learn of a centurion named Cornelius in Acts 10, a devout man who feared God along with all his household, who faithfully prayed and gave money to the poor. So faithful was he, that God noticed his prayers and good deeds and sent the apostle Peter to tell him the good news about Jesus. God honored Cornelius and his family, as all were saved and received the Holy Spirit. Through his prayers and a life devoted to God, he protected and provided for his family by bringing them to a place where they could receive Christ as their Savior. Cornelius was a Godly man and a family man. A protector and provider.

Our Heavenly Father

Of course, we all know the famous verse about the heavenly Father and Son, John 3:16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

This is the greatest superhero story ever. For God is truly super and Jesus is truly a hero, not just for today, but for all eternity!

God is a family man. He seeks fathers and He seeks their families. Why? Because God loves us and God desires to save us.

God is a protector and provider. Only God could provide the sacrifice needed to save us. Only God could protect us from the penalty of our sin. To do this, He sent His own Son. Only Jesus could do it all, live the life we should have lived and die the death we deserved to die, so the price for our sin-debt is paid once and for all time. Through this sacrifice of love, God has prepared the perfection of heaven to be sin-free forever, a place of true rest for our souls, giving us more than a superhero ending.

When we see Godly fathers around us who live, speak and walk like Christ, the most important gift they give is to protect and provide for us by pointing us to Jesus, our only Savior, so that we will be protected and provided for throughout all eternity.

Do you have a remembrance of your dad that is a reflection of our heavenly Father? What is something you treasure about your dad?

Thank you to my dad, my husband and all the dads who shine the spotlight on our real superhero, Jesus!  Though you may not leap tall buildings in a single bound, you have shown us the One who built it all, in a single command!

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Melissa McLaughlin Truthful GraceMelissa McLaughlin Truthful Grace

Melissa McLaughlin Truthful Grace

Melissa McLaughlin Truthful GraceMelissa McLaughlin Truthful Grace


41 thoughts on “Reflections on Fathers, Spiders, Superheroes and Jesus”

    • Thank you for the kind words, Ryan! I think the spider dilemma must be common to all families! Happy Father’s Day to you! I know your wife and kids must be so grateful that you are the kind of father who points them to our eternal Father!

  1. P.S. We had a little field mouse in our house one time and my wife was freaking out. 😂 We back up to an open space, so we get bull snakes and mice sometimes. The neighborhood cats do a pretty good job of keeping the mice away though.🐱🐀😊

    • I feel your wife’s pain! Even though they are small, there is something about the way a mouse will dart around so quickly, it catches you off guard. Somehow screams seem to be an intuitive response. Hooray for those neighborhood cats! I don’t think I could handle the snakes!

  2. My Daddy went to Heaven on Easter Sunday, April 12, 1998. He was a wonderful father and gentleman. He taught me my first Bible verse. John 3:16. I am thankful God provided me with a wonderful Daddy.

    • Oh Melissa, what a precious memory. It is truly a deep blessing to have a wonderful Daddy! Though I know you must miss him terribly, it is a comfort to know he is already with Jesus. Blessings to you and your family in the week ahead!

    • I had myself so worked up over that mouse! I was absolutely convinced a tarantula was crawling on my leg – which of course makes no sense. How would a tarantula get in the house? But our imaginations can take us all sorts of places. This mouse-capade did have a happy ending, though, with my dad’s rescue. I hope you enjoy a treasured memory of our Father and your earthly father in the coming week!

  3. A hairy spider mouse 😯😂😂 Classic!
    My daughter is not scared of spiders, will pet a mouse at the pet store but jump like a cat when one is seen in her room.

    Now my friend Angie…total arachnophobia. You say spider and she freaks.

    What a great tribute to your dad and husband. Leading our children to Christ is our main mission trip.

    • There’s just something about spiders. They are so creepy!!!
      It’s funny how my greatest fear literally became bigger than life!
      Well said, Stu! “Leading our children to Christ is our greatest mission trip.” I pray that our children will see Christ in us and desire Him always. Happy Father’s day to you! God bless!

      • They are creepy and cool at the same time 🙂

        Some days it is hard to be Christ like, but I agree may they see Him in us daily!

        Thank you for the Father’s Day wishes! God bless you too!

  4. Ha! This is a great story… you totally had me going there, thinking it was a creepy spider, and then for it to turn out to be a mouse? Girl, this is the making of a great children’s book. You should consider it! I think it would be a fantastic idea. Only you will have to come up with the ending of what actually happened to the mouse….
    But anyway, I love that you have a good earthly dad who has been a great example of our Heavenly Father’s love and protection towards you. That is a blessing!

    • Awww, Lisa, I’m glad you got a kick out of this true life story! I never considered the idea of a children’s book for this one, but thank you for making me pause and consider. Who knows where God may lead?! Best of all, is the blessing of an earthly dad who provided a good example our good, good Father!

  5. Melissa, loved your opening story of the spider…mouse. A mouse would be almost as bad to me. But true, they aren’t poisonous. It’s a great analogy to connect your dad to provider and protector, and to call Him a hero. Then to think of our heavenly Father. He provided Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice, to protect us from the evil, poisonous enemy who only wants to steal, kill and destroy. So thankful God, the Father, sweeps in and rescues us from spiritual death and bondage to sin. And He continues to protect us in spiritual warfare when we call out His name and put on the full armor of God, pieces of equipment much better than a broom and bat, and capable of battling the powers of darkness. By the way, love all the pictures. Happy Father’s Day to the fathers in your life!

    • Oh Karen, I love how you worded this: “So thankful God, the Father, sweeps in and rescues us from spiritual death and bondage to sin. And He continues to protect us in spiritual warfare when we call out His name and put on the full armor of God, pieces of equipment much better than a broom and bat, and capable of battling the powers of darkness.” Wow, so well said! You wove in more connecting threads to the protection of our heavenly Father. An endless blessing is He! Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers in your life, as well!

  6. Oh my, I don’t blame you for screaming! I love this picture of God as the perfect Father. I was also thinking how we can make small things seem so great – whether it’s fears or anything else – but God looks at it and knows, in reality, how small the problem really is. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    • Emily, thank you for feeling my pain! I appreciate your thoughtful insights. So true, how we can magnify the smallest problems into something bigger than God. If we can pause and rest in a God-sized view, we will always gain a better perspective. I hope you enjoy some good memories of the fathers in your life this weekend – most especially our good, good heavenly Father!

  7. I think a mouse is worse than a spider in that situation. Yuck! I’m glad you’ve survived with your sanity intact. That story made me laugh out loud.

    I love this statement: “God is a family man. He seeks fathers and He seeks their families. Why? Because God loves us and God desires to save us.” My husband was the first Christian in his family, and because of him, we were able to raise a Christian family. The Lord pursued him and won him and gave him the heart of a father. He had no fatherly example. He was entirely in God’s hands as to what a father should do and how he should do it. By the grace of God, he became the epitome of the good father – not perfect, by any means. No one is. But, he became a man who was faithful to me, loved our children, provided for us, came home to be with us, one who plays games with us, who cherishes each one and our grandchildren, and who prioritizes his family above friends and sports. He loves Jesus, took us to church, modeled the Christian life for our kids, and pursues them. I could go on, but you get the point. No one taught him any of this. He never saw it done by anyone other than older Christian men he met along the way. God, who loves families, fathered him and provided the example. Praise be to God!

  8. What a honor to celebrate the gift of the father. Waking up and telling Father God happy Father’s Day. Filled me with smiles. How blessed are we to be children of the lord most high.

    • Thank you for reading and sharing your insights. It’s true Katie, what an honor indeed to celebrate the gift of a father. And yes, our Father God, is the most perfect and loving of all earthly parents. He is a good, good Father. To think, we are called children of the Most High God! That is what we are! Blessings to you, sister!

  9. Your story made me giggle! I had a similar situation that my step-father saved me from. My brothers had toy snakes, and one evening I headed to bed and saw a snake laying across the hallway. I assumed it was a toy. My bedroom was a construction zone in the basement at the time and had no walls yet. When the “toy” snake moved I screamed and jumped through the 2x4s to get on my bed! I then had to jump back over the snake to get upstairs to tell my stepdad. He got a shovel and put a blood stain on the cement in front of the woodstove that stayed there as a reminder for many years. It’s funny now, but was terrifying then!

    God is such a loving father and I’m sure saves us from things we don’t even know about more often than we realize.

    • Oh Nicole, you had me laughing out loud at your story! The whole 2x4s really set it off! Not to mention the blood stain as a memorial! Oh my goodness, too funny!
      You make such a good point, we can’t even imagine all the close calls that our heavenly Father has saved us from along the way. I pray one day when we get to heaven, we will see all that He has done for us. So grateful for His love and protection!

  10. I wish I had known my Dad or my mother! I thank my Heavenly Father He is there every moment of my life! Dads & Moms are the true superheroes! Stan Lee heroes are fun but Jesus is etetnal! Parents are Mega Heroes! Without any super powers…except God if they belong to Him!


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