Have you ever thought about bees?
How they are so terrifying― so seemingly threatening, yet so small and delicate? They are definitely capable of inflicting pain. They have the ability to intimate us, like a mighty & powerful lion. But their humble size and delicate structure are far from lion-like. Although we freeze like we are under arrest when we encounter one zooming around our garden, we also use cartoon-versions of them to decorate our precious children’s bedrooms. The same bees that have the capability of stinging us are also the producers of the sweet, gooey substance we use to soften the bitter of our morning cup of black tea. Yes, the very same species that make an unpleasant “buzzing” as they glide (a little too closely) past our ear, also play an important role in our agriculture system. It is said that these busy little pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. Pretty important sounding if you ask me. Maybe you aren’t convinced of their value. Maybe to you, they are just insects. But maybe they are more than that…
Have you ever thought about having children?
Perhaps you already have a child, or several children. The thought of having a child of my own someday terrifies me. Children (especially babies) are so small and fragile. They are so innocent. So delicate, so precious. Yet their presence is striking like that of a mighty & powerful lion. Their entrance into this world makes us freeze in our tracks. It forces us― even if only for a moment or two― to stop and ponder the miracle of life. The same innocent little babies that have the capability to touch the deepest parts of our souls with a joy so cosmic it cannot be contained, also produce some of the deepest, hardest, most intense pains.
It is said that the honey bee is the only species of bees that dies when it stings. When a honey bee stings a person, it leaves behind its stinger (which often has to be plucked out). But the bee also leaves behind part of its abdomen and part of its digestive track, creating a massive abdomen puncture which kills the bee. Honey bees, who spend the entirety of their short lives participating in vital pollination work, are the only bees to die after stinging.
A brave family I know recently experienced both the joy of welcoming a baby into their lives, and the most painful sting ever known to man; a sting that is more gruesome and gut wrenching than any bee sting. What they experienced just 10 short months after receiving the sweetest gift in the world― a gift sweeter than the sweetest honey any hive has to offer― was the sting of death. This was the death of their precious little baby girl Blakely.
Blakely- Bumble Bee is her nickname.
Blakely lived a short life by earthly measure, much like the life of a bee. Although it was short, it was (also like the life of a bee) a significant and meaningful life. Blakely was born with a rare genetic disorder which led doctors to predict she wouldn’t live past birth. But like a strong & mighty, fearsome lion, she came roaring into this world with a loud scream, a scream which her adoring parents would describe as the most beautiful sound in the world. Blakely, despite being born with a rare brain malformation which resulted in many long nights of seizures and cause Blakely’s facial features to look different from many babies, radiated beauty. Not only external beauty with her huge, blue eyes that captivated the world like those of a bumblebee; but her spirit also exuberated a rich and honest beauty. In his eulogy to his beloved daughter, Blakely’s dad Michael wrote:
"Even though the world said you were incompatible with life, 'you did not belong, your life had no meaning, you were ugly and unlovable,' you bravely revealed in your brokenness that God intimately loves his children and that God intimately loved you. You showed that you could live, you did belong, you did have purpose, you were beautiful and you were overwhelmingly lovable.”
Blakely lived for only 10 short months, and when she was called to fly away from this earth to her heavenly home, her loved ones were left with the deepest, most painful sting.
But there was another death that changed everything for Blakely’s story― a death that happened thousands of years ago. This death was a death like no other death that came before it or would proceed it. This death was not a death that would last. No, this death would only last for three days. And this death, was a death that would accomplish what no other death could ever do; it would defeat the sting of death. Yes, this death that occurred on a rugged cross many years ago changed Blakley’s story and gave her heart broken loved ones a promise to cling to. This promise, like the beauty of a rainbow emerging after a dark, scary thunderstorm is a promise of hope. This hope doesn’t take away from the fact that Blakely isn’t here with us. This hope doesn’t change the fact that Blakely’s story presents us with a tension, one that is described by her loved ones as the painful call to both live and suffer...
But like a bumble bee who pollinates the beautiful flowers we enjoy in our garden, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection has produced for us this hope… the most beautiful hope. This is a hope is rooted in pure & perfect love. It wipes away every tear. It makes all things new. It is built on the unmovable foundation of a promise to restore what is broken. It meets us on this side of heaven and promises us, His children, that one day we will be as Blakely is now:
a new creation LIVING in perfect, heavenly communion with her maker.
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”