The other day a wasp got in the house. Seeing that my wife is terrified of wasps (for that matter any kind of bug) and that I am allergic to stings I wanted to put a quick end to his buzzing around inside our living quarters. As I chased the deadly foe around the house with a can of bug spray I couldn’t help but think back to a Pink Panther cartoon I once saw. The Pink Panther got a fly in his house that buzzed loudly around his head. He first tried a fly swatter but could never splat him. Then he chased him around the house with bug spray but that proved to be futile also. Desperate to rid his house of the pesky fly, he got a shot gun and started shooting repeatedly hoping to bring about his demise. As the cartoon ends the house lay in a pile of rubble from all the shot gun blasts, but the fly is still buzzing around the Pink Panther’s head.
While my plight was not that extreme, I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to subdue the wasp as I chased him around the living room. At last I managed to corner him and cover him with enough bug spray to end his reign of terror and render his stinger harmless.
The incident reminds me of the many incidents, situations, and events that unexpectedly come into our lives seeking to invade our peaceful existence and sting us. The “wasp” may come in the form of some temptation that beckons to us to lay aside our convictions and values and succumb to a temporary gratification that in the end contains a deadly stinger. It may be an unkind remark said to us, and if we refuse to let it go the sting of bitterness will poison our souls. It may be a lingering trial that refuses to loosen its grip on us and the sting of resentment towards life, and worse toward our Lord, can imprison our spirits. It may be a friend, family member, or co-worker whose mistreatment of us has been unfair, yet if we are not careful the stinger of unforgiveness will strangle our spiritual lives and dry up our creative flow. The list of incidents that can sting us, creating negative attitudes and emotions within us, are endless and sometimes unrelenting.
To one allergic to stings, getting stung can be deadly. As well, stings of life can be deadly to our attitudinal and spiritual lives. The Apostle Paul spoke about the “sting of death is sin” (I Corinthians 15:56). Because of the power of sin that plagues the human condition; because of our inner propensity that blurs right and wrong, “death” incidents occur and are able to sting us and afflict us causing us sorrow and grief. Who of us cannot give detailed stories of how we have experienced being stung by life’s “death” incidents?
While “death” experiences are all around us seeking to sting us, Paul is clearly referring to in I Corinthians 15 that one “wasp” that can strike fear into all our hearts, as he cries out, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (I Cor. 15:55)? Death! The grave! We have enough to deal with in life without having to talk about that, right? Yet not thinking about it or dismissing it from our thoughts will not change the inevitable appointment we have with our final Foe. What are we to do? Facing those “death” situations of life that seek to sting us is demanding enough, but how are we going to face without fear the “sting” of the last enemy we meet death (I Cor. 15:26)?
Thankfully, Paul doesn’t leave us without a solution. He emphatically declares, “But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 15:57). Whether it be from the “wasps” or the “death” situations of life that seek to sting us or from death itself, the Christ of the cross and the empty tomb took the sting of death on behalf of wayward humanity in order that we don’t have to be overcome with defeat and fear. His victory over sin and death became/becomes our victory. When we embrace Him as Lord we share in His triumph which empowers us to adequately face the “wasps” that seek to sting us along life’s journey and at last enables us to face with assurance when our final Foe seeks to instill in us fear.There is no need for defeat or fear, in Christ death has lost its stinger.
Is a “wasp” annoying you? In Christ there is power to face the stings that you may encounter in life and in Him is peace in knowing that death has lost its venomous stinger.
The wasp has lost his stinger!