One of my absolute worst fears came into fruition this weekend. This isn’t hyperbole, this was straight up terror. All my life, I’ve known that I’m allergic to bee stings. Allergic in the sense that...well...at least I think I’m allergic. When I’ve been stung in the past I swell up really bad. I’m not sure if that’s what happens to everyone - it doesn’t seem that way - but for me, my body reacts dramatically. My great fear has been that I would get stung in my neck. Yep. Greatest fear in life. (Except for falling off the side of the Grand Canyon. Seriously...these are my fears. Someone called me irrational once. I told them my nickname was Pi).
All that to say, the kids and I were walking to the park on Saturday and I got stung in the neck by a bee. Immediately I turned us around and headed back home, and I wasn’t waiting for the kids to catch up. I flung open the door and yelled out to Deb that I was in trouble. I was panicking - I thought this really might be IT. I can’t stress how freaked out I was. I raced over to the medicine cabinet and grabbed the Benadryl. After I swallowed the pill, all I could do was sit and wait. And think. And worry. And fear.
Well, I’m still alive. The bee sting to the neck didn’t kill me. I thought my neck would swell up, my throat would constrict, and I’d die. Yep, worst case scenario. I’m a bit of what you could call a hypochondriac. At least that’s what my wife says. But the way I see it, I am just incredibly in touch with reality.
That might not actually be true. I don’t know how everything will unfold, even when I assume the worst. Actual reality is that I don’t know what the future holds. But when I live out of my fears and project into the future, I assume I know what is going to happen, and actually take on an incredibly proud and arrogant stance. I look out onto the unwritten day and logically tick off the events in order, figuring that there is no One outside of circumstances that can orchestrate life. It’s like I’m the author of life’s events.
But that approach to life does not line up with the worldview of a follower of Christ. Worry is actually pride in disguise. It’s pride with a dash of fear. This is why Jesus often reminds his disciples not to worry, and that their Heavenly Father is aware of their circumstances and is trustworthy. He speaks into the temptation to worry and fear when things feel out of control. “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” Matthew 6:34.
This is easier said than done, however. It’s hard to keep this reminder on the forefront of our minds because life throws so much at us so quickly. Our days are a rapid progression of one happening after another, and it’s incredibly difficult to keep the promises and truths of God on the front lobe.
The Apostle Paul says that we need to have our minds completely changed. We’re not going to be able to keep God’s promises in our thoughts apart from being transformed. It’s just not possible for a person whose entire mental framework has been warped by the infection of sin. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” There’s an active and passive response found in that imperative. Actively avoid situations that cause your mind to assume the status quo of the culture, and allow your mind to be reformed by a impetus outside yourself. As my good friend Roger Hershey puts it, “Our lives are transformed by changing what we believe.”
The way this speaks to the idea of worry and fear is: I need to choose not to listen to the cultural perspective that says “I am the captain of my soul.” While our Western culture might not always put it so elegantly, essentially our world is selling us the lie that we’re ultimately in control of our lives. And that’s a fearful situation, because it basically states that if we’re not in control, then no one’s in control.
But Jesus makes it abundantly clear that our good, kind, compassionate, loving, holy Father is not only in control, but is in fact the author. And this might bring up questions along the lines of “If God is in control, how can He allow _____ to happen?” Short answer? He’s not the author of sin and brokenness. And He’s provided a long-term solution through His Son. But even in the worst of situations, a follower of Christ can always remain secure in the fact that no circumstances are unfolding outside of His vantage point.
So...back to the bee sting. I was really scared. I thought that Saturday was going to be the grand finale for the life of Dusty. Part of that was a natural protective response, but another part of it was fear, and ultimately not believing that God would take care of me. This is an area I hope to see growth in, as I’m sure we all desire. Because He’s promised to care for His children. And He’s an incredible Dad.
(But why did You create bees with the function to sting, Dad?!?!)