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 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; 4 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.