"My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth." Proverbs 3:11-12
"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
2 Corinthians 12:9
A queen bee lays her egg in a six-sided cell filled with the pollen and honey that will nourish the unborn offspring. She then seals the top with wax. Twenty-one days later, its food supply exhausted, the newborn wrestles, squirms, and strains to break the wax seal and emerge alive. The opening it makes in exiting is so narrow that it rubs off the membrane that is covering its wings, enabling it to fly.
Should the wax seal be opened prematurely, the bee will emerge without a struggle unable to fly since the membrane is still on its wings. It is soon stung to death by the other bees considering it an imposter.
I don't know about you, but sometimes I view adversity the wrong way. More often than not I don't see it coming and therefore don't recognise it as a training exercise, so I feel like I've failed right from the outset.
I often consider it as another high wall I have to climb over, instead of appreciating the benefits of the effort. Are you like that, too? Or am I just the slow one here?
It is hard to understand the need for adversity and chastening in a Christian's walk. We can see how important it is in most other areas of life, but somehow fail to realise why God wants us to jump through another hoop for our spiritual life. I think that is because we don't quite understand the heights to which he is calling us.
If we could see the full picture as God does, we might understand, but instead, we are shown in steps so our faith builds one-step-at-a-time. The obstacle of the bee's opening and the need for his exertion is the means of it growing properly with all the necessary requirements.
Likewise, the hurdles we overcome can uncover our resources, develop our strengths, and stimulate a tenacity within us we may not have otherwise possessed. They can bring us joy equal to their distress we've just endured.
As John Bunyan wrote when talking about his trials, "They can appear as the lion did to Samson: roaring and gnashing; but when subdued, full of honey."
In our walk with Christ, God designs these struggles for us to give us new life, as He did with the bee. He is transforming us into someone quite different with a raft of abilities and experiences.
We can trust Him to provide us with the struggles we need most. If we obey him, even when it's difficult, and even if we've messed up before, we will grow to produce our best.
I wonder how the new bee saw his struggle. Having won and lost a few challenges ourselves, let's use our imagination. Does this sound like the bee talking to himself?
"Why does this all have to be so hard?"
"Doesn't God know I don't have the strength to get out of this hole I'm in?"
"Why doesn't Mum just open the hexagon lid and help me crawl out? That would be much simpler!"
The bee, when in that hexagonal container, had no idea of the life he would be involved in and the wonders he would bring to the existence of the human being. In like manner, due to our walk of faith, we have no idea of the riches we will bring to others as we grow to full maturity.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, rarely do I understand the purpose of the challenges you put before me. I quite often don't see them as training until after I have failed. I am getting better at recognising the 'bees openings' in my life, but ask you to help me see them earlier so I may appreciate the riches of those challenges as I am going through them.
Photo by Philipp-Potocnik