I was eight year old when a hot and humid July and August turned into "The Summer of the Bees." The hive affixed to the door frame on the front of the house was a constant (and all-too close for comfort) buzz of activity. I did my best to play away from the hive and Mom did her best to remove the residence of the stinging intruders but they were a tough hive to crack. The front door became a danger zone. Apiphobiacs beware.
I remember my first stinging encounter with that hive and its buzzing residents. I vividly recall shedding alligator tears while cursing all bees. How dare they interrupt my afternoon fun with a pain all-too similar to the injection of a doctor's needle. I never had been one to tolerate vaccinations with bravery or grace and my encounter with the bees was no different. I endured the pain with the help of baking soda, a Mother's comfort and, of course, an ice cream sundae. In time I recovered and by the end of the day I was back outside (by way of the back door) to play.
The Summer of the Bees passed and although I still avoid run-ins with hives, I'm no longer cursing bees or the pain they inflict. I've actually come to love bees. Stingers and all.
I've come to love bees because of what they provide and I'm not talking pain. I'm talking honey. Bees are honey masters. For all of the pain they are capable of inflicting, bees are no stranger to sweet. They are the only buzzing insect capable of making the sticky goodness that give Honey Bun's their name. Bees alone cultivate the liquid gold that supplies a touch of sweetness to freshly brewed cups of tea. They work wonders of pollination to transform nectar into a treasure. I love and appreciate bees because underneath their stinger, they create something incredibly sweet. On the other side of the pain they inflict is the honey they provide.
Bee's aren't the only provider of both stinging pain and gloriously sweet honey. God can deliver both, too. He is a master at bringing beauty out of ashes, restoration out of destruction and sweetness out of a sting. God transforms seasons of pain and difficulty into jars of honey overflowing with His love. He uses the sharp stings of sorrow and loss to produce the sweetness of gentleness, compassion, kindness and grace. God never allows a single stinging pain to penetrate the skin, heart, mind or soul without it producing something gloriously beautiful and eternally beneficial.
May I never try to avoid God's stinger because, although there will be pain, it will only last a moment but the honey will last forever.