When I was at Ruby's Pantry this past weekend, one of the ladies standing in line pulled out an envelope filled with pictures and showed them to me. They were images of storm damage from a few weeks ago. If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time you might remember that we had four or five tornadoes touch down in our area.
I told you about our losing a portion of a tree in our front yard and how sad my wife was. Well, this lady lost entire trees - a yard's worth! She said that she had a row of ten full-grown cedar trees, beautiful trees. They were all twisted off at the base during the storm. Her entire yard was filled with fallen trees! One of them had even fallen on her house and collapsed a portion of the roof.
She was still flipping through the pictures when she came upon some photos with a bunch of boys in them. They were carrying branches and some cut up logs. There were dozens of boys, swarming all over her yard. Like a bee hive!
"These are the Boy Scouts and some other boys from Rawhide," she said. (Rawhide Boys Ranch is a local Christian-based facility for at-risk teen boys). Then she looked up at me and said, "I don't know what I would have done without those boys."
Later on that same day, my wife and I were burning in our backyard. We were getting rid of some of the branches from one of our favorite trees. We too had been touched by the same storm that had ripped through that lady's yard. I was chopping, my wife was raking. It was getting fairly dark when, suddenly, my lovely burning partner dropped her rake and ran screaming into the house, yelling, "Bees!! Bees!!!"
Being a guy, and stupid, I went to investigate. Guess what? She was right!!!
My wife and I soon decided, from the safety of our home, that we had burned enough wood for the night so we cleaned ourselves up and went to bed. The following morning I went outside to see what she had uncovered.
I approached slowly, a can of wasp spray in my hand. I assumed I was approaching a yellow jacket nest. Those guys can be really nasty if disturbed so I was "bee-ing" careful. (Sorry about that) I saw some of the bees flying in circles where my wife had been raking. I moved in still closer and, leaning in ever so slowly, I discovered what my wife had accidentally uncovered was . . . a bumble bee nest! Oh . . . good. Bigger bees!!
I was just about ready to give them a big dose of wasp spray when I paused and began to watch them as they worked. My wife had ripped the top of their nest completely off and I could see right inside. They were really working hard! And they were still keeping up with their regular duties too, flying in and out of "the roof" of their now topless nest. Flying down into little tunnels, doing what bees do I guess. They were getting on with their lives, despite their home being devastated!
So I thought for a moment. Perhaps is was time to re-think what I was about to do. I went back inside the house and went on-line to do some research on bumble bees. Interesting findings.
Bumble bees are one of the main pollinators of fruit trees and flowers. They are extremely beneficial insects. The male bees do not sting at all. And their actual nests are only discovered in rare instances. Finding their nests is like a once-in-a-lifetime discovery!
So I placed the can of wasp spray back on the shelf. After it got dark I went outside with a flashlight and gathered the pieces of their former roof and placed them gently back on top of the gaping hole.
When we humans have struggles in our lives, like the lady with all the cedar trees and a hole in her roof, God provides for us . . . often in unexpected ways. Those boy scouts just "showed up" because they were "in the area." Same with the boys from Rawhide. God often shows up exactly when we need Him the most. For me He showed up in a nest of bees. He made me see that we gain nothing when we destroy His creation. But we can experience gain when we pause to appreciate it. God helps us rebound when disaster strike us, He helps us bounce back. God teaches us in times of trouble. It is how we react during times of trial that reflects God's Holy Spirit living within us.
I am sure that lady with all of the pictures will be fine. So will the nest of bumble bees. Like Yukon Cornelius said in the Christmas movie Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer, "Didn't I ever tell you about Bumbles? Bumbles bounce!" And so do we who believe.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." - Hebrews 12:1-3