I stood outside in the driveway, waiting for the arrival of my company. I was busy clicking through my phone, lost in the all-consuming world of technology and email, when a buzzing sound caught my attention. In my distracted daze I had completely missed the wall of greenery lining the side of the driveway. Dotted all over the green leaves were purple, white and yellow flowers in varying stages of bloom. Some were wrapped up in a tight cocoon of pedals. Most were withered, scorched in the hot summer sun and heat.
My gaze wandered along the expanse of the greenery to the source of the buzz. That's when I saw a clump of vibrant, colorful, healthy flowers in full bloom. In the midst of the rich purples and bright oranges I saw the buzz maker, a bee who was busy feasting on one of the last blooming flora.
As I watched the bee going about its natural work as God intended, I became captivated by the irony of the bee's life and purpose. The bee that sucks the nectar from the center of the bloom is the same bee who pollinates crops and maintains the life of the wildflower. God's tiny winged, buzzing creation avoided for fear of its stinger is the same creation that produces the sweetest honey. As I watched the bee at work I saw an irony that had never occurred to me before. God's character, the sting and the sweet, the taking and the giving, are on perfect display in the life of the bee.
By watching the bee God provided me a picture of how he works in the lives of His cherished flowers - you and I. At times His work can feel like a draining experience. God sucks the nectar right out of us. The sapping experiences of trials and struggles threaten to deplete the soul of its spiritual stamina.
And then comes the sting. The sting of loss. The sting of disappointment. The sting of failure. The sting of abandonment. The sting pierces with such intensity it makes the heart recoil. The unsuspecting soul winces in pain. How can a person recover from such agony?
God has a way of buzzing into life in such a way that the heart wants to run and hide. Like a child running from a bee, no right minded person wants to be stung. No one asks to be sucked dry.
And yet that is how God often works. Just like the bee, God uses His stinger to save. God uses the painful circumstances and the most trying seasons of life to bring renewal and abundant life to our spirits.
In the end it is the God who stings who ultimately saves us with His sweet mercy and grace. God, the producer of beauty and maker of the bee, has a plan for life's most intense pains. They help us bloom. They keep us rooted in the Lord. They keep us vibrant, beautiful, healthy and alive.
At all costs I've tried to avoid God's sting but He hasn't let me escape His winged plans. God has allowed me to feel His stinger in order that He could produce in me the sweetest of honey. There may be pain today but I know the sting isn't the end of the story. God is working just like that bee. He is producing in me a garden full of flowers and a storehouse rich in honey. It is by His sting that I am saved, changed and made beautiful.
So bring on the bees.