When I was a little girl, my grandparents took me to a playground. As soon as we arrived, I ran to the swings and jumped on an animal-shaped swing that had a hollow inside. As I began swaying back and forth, the bees began swarming. There was a nest burrowed inside that I had rattled. I can’t remember the exact number of stings, but it was a lot. I also remember I never jumped onto a swing without looking twice again. To this day, I still look in hollow swings before I let my kiddos play.
In my experience, I think the swarm of bees surrounding me was scarier than the pain of the actual stings. I remember it started with one sting, which was alarming and unexpected. I didn’t fully realize what was happening until the bees were buzzing around my body, bumping into me, and administering stings periodically. When I finally realized what was happening, I screamed and ran to my grandparents, who swatted them away and carried me to a safer spot. Luckily, I was old enough to know to run, and I didn’t just stay frozen in fear. I guess that’s the fight, flight, or freeze reflex, right? I haven’t personally experienced a swarm of bees since that day, but I have experienced a swarm of other things: toxic thoughts, anxiety, grief, doubt, fear, worry, and the like.
Just like the swarm of bees though, these things started with one thought and quiet hum deep within me. One thought turned into two, then three, and four, and before I knew it, my head was swarming with thoughts that were not good; thoughts that were not helpful, encouraging, or healthy to my emotional and mental wellbeing. However, as my walk with Christ has deepened over the years, my ability to recognize such thoughts has grown. It’s just like looking in the swings before letting my children play. I can see the dangerous thoughts, identify them, and remove the source that’s causing them more quickly now.
What’s swarming your mind today? Is it angst over the war between Israel and HAMAS? Is it thoughts of terminal illness or death? Is it the pressure of finances? Is it your marriage? Is it your inability to get the life you want? Is it the pressure of a stressful job or maybe it’s a lack of job? Is it friendships that are exhausting or is it loneliness? Is it your worth that you doubt? Is it a thought of infidelity or mistrust? Is it a thought of overwhelm? Is it a worry of what’s coming next? Or are you living in fear of all the what ifs?
As believers, we know those thoughts and worries, though real and scary, are not of God, and that we are encouraged to rise up in knowledge and “...take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Jesus didn’t come to live as a man and die for us, so that we could live in a spiral of obsessive thoughts or fear. In fact, Scripture says “Fear not” 365 times. Some scholars even argue that it’s more. That’s at least one “Fear not” statement for every day of the year.
As I get to know more people and hear their stories, I can see that we all have a story. We have all endured hardship, hurt, loss, and suffering in some form. Yet, here we are, still standing… and not only standing, but standing with hope in our eternal Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God in flesh, who dwelt among us, who experienced every emotion we’ve ever experienced, who was betrayed by a close friend, who was mocked, tortured, and suffered a death He did not deserve, on our behalf. He took His last earthly breath, died, and remained dead for three days. Yet, that wasn’t the end of His story. He rose again, defeating death, and fulfilling every prophecy spoken from the very beginning in Genesis 3:15 to today, as we await His glorious return.
My friend, we were not created to live paralyzed in fear by the thoughts of this world that swarm our minds. We were created to be bold, to be courageous, and to be loving. Even when the world doesn’t look the way we envision it, even when the hurt feels too heavy to breathe, even when the fear stops us, and even when we believe we can’t, we can because He did. Our hope is not here, but with Him and in Him.
So when the thoughts swarm and overwhelm us, let us rest in knowing that we have eternal hope in a King who is good, who is with us, and who has acted out of love on our behalf by going to the cross. Because of this “... let us approach the throne of grace with boldness so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time” (Hebrews 4:16).
As we finish this week out, let us pray for one another, lifting each other and our suffering to the One who can bring peace and beauty from all things. Additionally, let us shut out the swarm of the world and rest in knowing our loving Father.
“Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little” (1 Peter 5).
“We have also obtained access through Him [Jesus] by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that but we rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:2-5).
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