The Bee and the Birdbath

 

old birdbath

“He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16-19

In my travels, I visited a small butterfly garden that was part of a larger botanical garden. The butterfly garden consisted of a pathway lined mostly with flowering plants and shrubs and with an occasional decorative accessory, such as a bench or a birdbath. While passing one of the birdbaths, I noticed an insect floating on the small amount of water that had accumulated in it. On closer inspection, I determined that it was a small honeybee. The poor thing had somehow become stuck upside-down on the water and was barely moving. I watched as what appeared to be its final minutes were running out. If others had passed by then, they probably would not have noticed or cared about the helpless bee. But I could not bear to just let it die in such a sad, helpless state. So I picked up a nearby leaf, carefully scooped up the straggler, and gently placed it right-side-up on a raised area of the bath. I figured that it could at least have a short time in a dry, sunny place before its demise. When I returned about thirty minutes later, I was pleasantly surprised to find that its weary self had apparently not only dried out, but also recovered enough to fly away!

This incident may seem insignificant, but God, throughout history, has done this innumerable times with each of us.

Just when we thought our life was about at an end, He reached down, picked us up, and placed us on dry land. He cares for us so much that He is willing to reach down and pick us up from our lowest moments in life, if we will let Him.

Yet, even in such a desperate moment as this, we often refuse because of pride, and even curse God for trying to help us. We believe we can make it on our own. We think, “I don’t need anyone’s help; I am on the verge of reviving” (while actually moments away from drowning). But God sees the big picture, and He desires to rescue us. In fact, He sent His beloved only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us.

birdbath nested in plants

Because of our sins (our wrongdoings against God), God’s law was broken. It therefore demanded that the penalty be paid: death. And it was not just to be death and the grave here on Earth, but death eternally in Hell (a place of perpetual torment).

According to God’s law, the only way out of this was through the sacrifice of an animal as our substitute. An innocent, spotless lamb was required to be sacrificed in our place. But this was only a temporary means; there was no way that we could ever pay the price ourselves to be saved from eternal death.

It’s like trying to rise up to a great height by lifting ourselves up with only our bare hands. That’s why God sent His Son, who willingly came down as a human being, to be the perfect, innocent, and sinless sacrifice for all of our sins. This fact was witnessed in the book of John, chapter 1, verse 29: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. That includes sins from the first sin of Adam to the sins of a future generation not even born yet!

Jesus fulfilled all of the requirements of God’s law (but did not eliminate it) through His sacrifice on the cross. When He died, He broke the chains of eternal death and our sentence to Hell forever.

And He set free all of those, prior to His death, who had offered up the temporary covering of the blood of the sacrificed lamb.

Our sin has ultimately left us like that bee in the birdbath, hopelessly struggling to live on borrowed time, or even dying. To say that you have more time, or that everything is fine, or that it will all work out all right in the end, is like saying that, because today is sunny and clear, every day is going to be sunny and clear from now on—when actually an inevitable and deadly storm is on its way straight toward you. You are not able see the big picture that God sees. All God wants you to do is to admit that you have sinned against Him, and believe that Jesus died for your sins on the Cross, which paid the tremendous price that you owed. Ask for His forgiveness now, and let Him work inside of you. Let Him reach down and pick you up!

–James Pangburn

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