I don’t remember the last time I was stung by a bee, but it alway surprises me when the intensity of the pain seems to take my breath away. Almost comically, my next thought invariably is, “Man! I totally forgot how much a bee’s sting hurts!”
This past year, our family was stung hard by news that no one ever wants to hear. Barely one year ago, our son Luke was diagnosed with cancer. We had hoped surgery and radiation would take care of it, but this fall he had to receive twenty-one chemotherapy infusions. The week of Luke’s last treatment, we were stung again when we learned that our daughter-in-love, Shannon (Luke’s wife), also has cancer that requires immediate surgery.
I have to be honest, when the paralyzing jolt of “cancer” hit, it stung us harder than anything else ever has. Feeling as if our world was falling apart, it was more than we could bear. It was then, that we cried out, “Please God, help!”
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly He answers our cries for help; how His Spirit reminded us of Scripture that helped us through previous battles and how He brought to light new passages that have deepened our faith:
“Now HOPE does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Romans 5:5, (NKJV)
“May the GOD OF HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,
so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because,
having stood the test,that person will receive the crown of life
that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.”
For God cannot be tempted by evil,nor does He tempt anyone . . . . “
James 1:12, 13
The rawness of life can sting us hard at times, yet, when we are knocked down and lack the strength needed to get up–God supplies. He provides the perspective needed to enable us to stand, as He dusts us off and sends us in the direction He would have us go. In Him we have a TIMELESS HOPE who will carry us through even the darkest hour:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers
of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes,
you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Are you struggling right now at the unfairness of life? Do you find yourself grumbling inwardly as the sting of bitterness and resentment intensify and everything around you seems hopeless? As a dear friend said to me many years ago, “Kathie, if you are talking to yourself when you are angry or hurt, you are probably sinning. Talk to God instead and He will help you like nothing else can!” I Peter 3:15 sets the tone well for switching our spiritual gears from hopelessness to a growing, intentional, God-centered faith that is bent on loving others:
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the HOPE that you have within you. But do this with gentleness and respect . . . .”
I Peter 3:15
As I reflect on the TIMELESS HOPE that is ours through Christ, my mind brings me full-circle. Suddenly, I am back in the Garden before sin mucked everything up, wondering . . . “were bees in the Garden of Eden?” Understanding their role in pollination and being appreciative of the natural sweetness of their labor (honey), I believe the answer is, “yes!” Even as things are now, I admit that I enjoy watching them do their work in my garden–keeping a respectful distance of course! But did they sting with such a vengeance then? I think not. As I look out to our garden, winter has barely settled in. I do not know what the future holds, yet I already long for spring. When I think about the sting of suffering and heartache that are so much a part of this life, I yearn for the return of Christ Jesus, when the Promise will be fulfilled and the sting . . . no more!
“And He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’”
Come Lord Jesus . . . COME!
All to His Glory!