Jen’s Gem: God is the Ultimate Problem Solver
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” The great Maya Angelou said this and it has stayed with me as a reminder that you cannot change other people no matter what you do. This principle, as I found out yesterday, also applies to bees.
I have a bees’ nest in my front lawn by a retaining wall. I do not know how or why these bees have taken up residence in the ground but no matter what I do, they return every year. They are indestructible. Yesterday, as I was mowing my lawn and approaching the area, I saw a few buzzing around close to the ground. In that moment, the rebel in me rose up and I ran the lawnmower over the area thinking that the sound would scare them off and I’d be rid of them forever.
I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
As one bee attached itself to my right foot and stung me through my sock, another stung me on the back of my left leg. In shock, I swiped at both of them to get them off of me. I ran into the house, still in shock. Grabbing a couple of ice packs, I attempted to calm the immediate swelling and searing pain. Despite my hall closet being a veritable first-aid shelf at CVS, there was nothing for insect bites.
I returned to the task at hand noting my stupidity at tempting fate. I passed on trimming the grass in that area with my weed whacker, yet could not resist getting in one last dig. I aimed the leaf blower in the direction of the bees (from a safe distance of course) and blew it into the hole. “Take that,” I muttered under my breath, to which I’m sure the bees were saying in a slightly sarcastic and mocking tone, “Good luck with that swollen ankle!”
Why is it that I expected the bees not to attack me? Why did I think they would go against their very nature and simply fly out of my way? Momentary lapse in judgement? Short-term memory loss? Or, as my kids would say (not to my face mind you for fear of their lives), temporary insanity.
When I relayed the story to my children, they each said the same thing. “Every time you go outside, something happens to you. You pick weeds and get poison ivy. You trim the grass and the weed whacker whacks you. You run over a bee’s nest and you get stung. Stop going outside!” (Clearly, I get no sympathy from my children for my many foibles.)
How often do we execute a similar poor choice with people? We experience a behavior from them over and over, yet we continue to expect something different. I believe this is often referred to as the definition of insanity, yes? Someone shares our secret, yet we keep entrusting them with personal information. We speak before we think and are surprised when our hurtful words cause another pain.
There is no reason that I should’ve thought those bees would have done anything other than what they did when their home was invaded so unexpectedly on a lovely, summer morning. My short-lived rebellion against them, ended up hurting me. They went on about their day whereas I spent a fair portion of it with icepacks, Tylenol®, and yes, a bit of a pity party.
Last night I prayed for God to heal my lower extremities, to take away the pain so that I could sleep. My prayer was answered. However, He left me a small reminder of my poor choice as both areas are a bit itchy today. Unlike my “take that” vengeful action with the leaf blower yesterday, God could’ve taken the same tack and left me in pain. He didn’t. Why?
God is merciful. Unbelievably merciful – and patient with His children. I’m sure He was looking down at me yesterday hoping I’d make a better decision as I approached the bee nest. I’m sure He was saying, “She knows better. She won’t do it. She’s been stung before.” Then as He saw me pass over it, I suspect His next words were to His angels, “She’s a work in progress. And we’ve got a lot of work to do!”
You see, that’s who God is. He knows we are going to make mistakes. He knows we are going to make poor choices that land us in hot water. He loves us anyway. He does not expect perfection from imperfect people. That’s why He sent His Son Jesus – to show us how to be better. And when we’re not? A simple apology is all that’s needed to wipe the poor choice from His memory.
This week I’d like to encourage you to examine your actions or behaviors. Are you doing the same thing over and over thinking you’ll get a different outcome? Are you seeking vengeance towards those who hurt you? I would like to suggest that instead of trying to fix these situations or people yourself, that you put them all in God’s hands.
He’s a much better problem solver than we are and His solutions won’t sting you.