My kids and I were privileged to see a honey bee rescue just outside our house. A honey bee colony had built a hive in a city water main access near Aptos Creek. They had to be moved or exterminated.
The beekeeper showed up and began setting up his supplies. He was going to attempt a rescue. With his grey-hair and grey-beard, he had retired early from a career in nursing so that he could care for bees in his home by the beach. He also surfed every day. He came to move their hive back to his beach bee farm where they would be safe breathing the salt air underneath his plum and apple trees.
The bees were in constant motion. There was only one point of access to the underground lair - a small hole that fit two bees at a time. They were swarming in and out of the little door to their pipe-born hive. As the bee keeper lit a small fire in his smoker, he explained to my three oldest that, “Sometimes the bees will think that the people on a honey bee rescue are attacking them and confuse them for a bear.”
He opened up the cover to the water main and began sticking a small crowbar under each honey comb. He was prying them loose one by one and transferring them to a hive box where they would be safe. From the bee’s point of view, there was very little difference between this rescuer and a bear pillaging their hive for honey.
As the bee keeper pulled layer after layer of their home apart, tying it into the wooden stackable bee box, little yellow and black soldiers, wobbly from the keeper’s smoker, would land on the keepers exposed arms to try and fend him off. They didn’t understand. They could never understand. What looked like the destruction of their house was actually their salvation.
How often God has stepped into our lives and we have mistaken him for a bear. At the very moment that we thought we were being attacked, God was rescuing us.
Paul tells us that everything that God does is for the sake of his people, and that his people are for the sake of the world. “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might, through the thanksgiving of many, abound to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 4:15). He says that the first way that we become a blessing to the world is by being thankful people who see that God is doing everything for the sake of his people. When we become people that see God working all things together for good for his people, grace overflows as thanksgiving and causes the world to glorify God.
Because He is not a bear, though he tears our world apart, we can still “Give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20).