The soaring temperature and the suffocating humidity were brutal this week and I was forced to walk frequently during the 13 mile run. My physical and mental energy were zapped. At the 11 mile mark, I slowed to walk and suddenly got attacked by a bee. It stung my arm and then kept swarming my head. While I am not allergic to bees, the sting hurt and I took off running, swinging my arms around feverishly. The bee was unrelenting and I was forced to a ¾ sprint speed for at least a mile before finally escaping. It must have been quite a sight! Because of the sheer exhaustion and discomfort of the sprint, I forgot the tiny pain of the sting. Catching my breath, I laughed at the fact that this tiny bee forced me to push through the fatigue.
Improvement and growth are painful. In our spiritual lives, the same principals are generally true. Our evolution or conversion starts internally and is characterized by internal turmoil and pain. We debate ourselves, weigh options, and calculate consequences. It is tough to look at something or someone differently or to think in a new manner. These changes can be challenging and even painful yet eventually they are externalized through action. The pain stems from the internal changes rather than the external action. After we have forgiven someone in our hearts, for example, the subsequent contact with them is undoubtedly easier.
If we are to make changes in our lives, embracing the pain is often necessary. Stepping past the emotional turmoil and pushing through the mental fatigue will result in spiritual strengthening and stability. In hindsight, the pain may seem like a mere bee sting once we make the positive changes.