Thursday, October 11, 2012

What We Can Learn from Bees

I am deathly afraid of bees.  I’m not sure why, having never been bitten.  The mere hint of the presence of one puts me into a tizzy.  I’m sure that half the fear is that I have built up the pain in my head.  The fear either freezes or makes me run away.

Emotional pain is like that too.  You build it up in your head so that the mere hint that it might be coming makes you frightened.  It isn’t the pain, however, that makes us freeze or run away.  It is the fear.   If we would be still and calm, we might escape the pain altogether.  We certainly build up the idea of pain in our heads, to the point that the fear is most assuredly worse than the pain itself. 

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

That got me thinking that there are other lessons I can learn from the bee.  Though fearsome, bees are very useful creatures.  The pollen they spread produces growth.  Pain too produces growth.  Like pollen, the growth from pain isn’t automatic.  You have to do something with it—process it, see what you can learn from it.  If it just sits there as you are praying for it to end, pain will not produce any growth.

Romans 5:3-4 also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Bees also produce honey.   Pain can produce a sweet joy in life in feeling the real presence of God in your life and his comfort.  Bees return laden with nectar in sacs—to the point that they waddle around with the burden.  “The worker bee returning to the hive with a load of nectar is almost immediately greeted by other workers ready to relieve her of the load”  (“How do Bees Make Honey?”).  We too are social creatures who should immediately come to our fellow workers aid, and with the load lightened, the work of turning pain into sweet honey can begin.

Galatians 6: 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

“Nectar returned to the hive at this point is barely recognizable as honey,” being mostly water  (“How do Bees Make Honey?”).  The bee must add the enzymes from their own bodies, allowing the water to be evaporated, leaving behind the honey.  We too must add to the pain—we can add more pain, or we can add from our own deep sense of who God is, as revealed by the word and by our experience of His love, and the Holy Spirit that lives in a believer’s heart. Adding His love to pain produces the sweet victory that allows up to rise up out of our circumstances into the loving presence of God.

Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

All this takes time.  We must trust God that he knows what he is doing.  If you are heavy laden with the pain that you have begged God to free you from, trust that he must still want you to learn from it.  Unload some of it on your fellow workers and go to the work of turning the pain to honey. 

Romans 8:2828 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

“How do Bees Make Honey?”  Beeswax  Co. LLC. Online. 11 Oct 2012


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Trust the Driver

As a mom, I do a lot of driving around town, especially now that my daughters go to three different schools.  I am always amazed that my kids, who are 9,7, and 5, will question my driving.  I will hear “why are we going this way, Mommy?  I want to go that way.”  “Go faster, Mommy” and “We are going the wrong way.”  Talk about back seat driving in the worst way!  Is there such thing as car seat driving?  I keep telling them to trust me, that I know where we are going, and I know the best way to get there.

It is annoying, but aren’t we the same way with God? We too try to tell Him where we want to go. We urge him to go faster.  We question the direction He is leading us.

The truth is that we don’t really know how to drive.  We have limited vision and don’t know where we are headed.  We want to take the wheel when the truth is we don’ t know what is best.  Who are we to question the omniscient, all-powerful creator of all time and space?

We just need to sit back and trust that God knows where we are headed and the best way to get there.  We will encounter some roadblocks a long the way, likely causing us to question His path for us.  But he put those roadblocks there to protect us.  To make us turn around and go down a better path—the best path--a route that will get us to our destination at just the right time. 

But what is our destination?  Remember that I said that we don’t know where we are headed?  We often loose sight of our ultimate destination in favor of the pit stops along the way.  Maybe we think, “I just need to get over this illness” or “My kids just need to grow up and move out.”  With these pit stops as our destinations we are apt to take what we think is the quickest route.  But God always has our ultimate destination in mind---to give him glory by becoming more like Him.

We were created in the image of God, but we because of our nature we continually fall short of that image.  Our final destination is to become more like Christ.  The only way that it can happen is if we trust God with our path.  We may question the purpose of certain circumstances in our life, but that is because we don’t understand how it can work for our good.  We see only that the circumstances are in our way preventing us from reaching what we believe is our destination.  But God know our ultimate destination, and the best way to get there.

I’m thinking of the life of Abraham.  There he was prospering when God suddenly told him to pick up and move.  God didn’t even tell him where he was going, just that He would show him and bless him.  Abraham had to trust God with his path and his destination.   Along the way, he experienced many roadblocks and occasionally questioned God’s leading.  He even tried to take the wheel a couple of times.  Ultimately, as God proved Himself a faithful, loving God, Abraham came to a place where he was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice—his son.  God had led him down a path where he had become more like God—who also made the ultimate sacrifice of his Son.

I have my dark moments where I question this disease and I just call out to God “heal me—but go faster!”  But I need to trust that there is a purpose for all of this and that God will deliver me to my destination safe and sound.  This illness is simply just a roadblock.  Because I trust the driver, I can have beautiful moments of pure bliss--wind in my hair, sun on my face, perfectly content.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!

Romans 8:28

New International Version (NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.