On a hot July day in an otherwise chilly Maine summer I drove to Pineland Farms in New Gloucester to buy ice cream. The country store also sold raw honeycomb in plastic tubs the size of a grapefruit. Raw honeycomb? Sweet gooey yumminess? I couldn’t resist.
Sitting in my light green Taurus overlooking the rolling meadows and thick pine forests of New Gloucester, I unwound the strip of packing tape that cemented the two honey hemispheres together. Twisting my wrist slightly, I popped off one side of the dish and stared at the pale yellow film that coated the individual hexagonal cells. I had heard somewhere that hexagons are both structurally sturdy and offer the greatest economy of space.
Problem: How could I excavate the sweet honey goodness locked within those sturdy walls?
With more enthusiasm than skill I grabbed my little white plastic spoon and took a stab at the top of the film. Cu-thud! Nothing happened. Hmm. Try a different angle. Ca-thwump! My plastic spoon shivered from the impact.
This was going to take more effort than I anticipated.
Throwing dignity to the wind I dug down with my spoon and shoved forcefully across the plane of the honeycomb. Cu-thump-cu-thump-cu-thumpity-thump! My spoon encountered each hexagonal cell and broke through the surprisingly solid walls. Honey oozed from the jagged rift I created in the comb.
God works that way, too.
My whole inner life is a honeycomb. I am a complex person full of sealed cells and defense mechanisms, surprisingly strong in my resistance to being opened. I have been hurt—who hasn’t?—and have locked away much of that pain in tiny, airtight cells. I have also hurt others—who hasn’t?—and the shame and guilt from those offenses lingers in dark pockets in my soul. But God wants to work in my life through the pain and pressure of circumstances and relationships to break down my inner dividedness and make me whole.
Just this morning, my wife and I sat at our kitchen table for a breakfast of gingerbread waffles and orange juice. Snow flickered outside with flakes still clicking down. A good day. I poured maple syrup as my wife asked me pointed questions about an area of my life in which I have yet to heal. A complex area where I suffered, but where I must also seek another person’s forgiveness–too shameful to mention here.
I tried to approach the topic academically; she, spiritually. I glowered. Resisted. Gave her a sour look. But in the end, she was right, and her words broke through a cell of hurt where I still needed to experience God’s grace.
Ouch. But ah!
Sure, the process of excavating past hurts might prove painful, but God’s grace will ooze like honey from my wounds. And in the end, I will find rest.
Am I willing to let God open me up like a honeycomb?
Are you willing to suffer pain in order to produce the golden ooze?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30