I recently cut my father's grass while he was recovering from an injury. I had trouble getting his lawn mowers started so I gratefully found a neighbor who was willing to loan me her lawn mower for the project. Due to my work schedule and the increasing growth of the grass, I felt an urgency to cut the grass on that particular day. So, with a self-propelled lawn mower in hand, I commenced to cutting.
The project began rather smoothly. The lawn mower was cutting at a good clip. I felt a sense of pride, seeing the grass getting mowed down at a good pace.
Then it happened. I felt a sharp stinging sensation in my calf. As I looked down, I could see the culprit...yellow jackets. I had cut over a yellow jacket nest and they were swarming in the vicinity. I quickly vacated the premises, but not before I had received two stings on my left calf, one on my right calf, and one sting on my right hand. I rested for a short time, then resumed my project, carefully watching for additional yellow jacket nests. Thankfully, my father-in-law came over and helped me cut the rest of the grass. The yard was mowed but I left the project wounded from those pesky yellow jackets.
When I went to bed that night, the stings were very painful, just a constant ache. I wondered if I would even be able to sleep due to the pain. This concerned me because I needed to rest to be able to work the following day. Finally, I took some Tylenol and got some rest. The stings itched for several days and I coated the areas with antihistamine gel. Finally, after about 2-3 days, the stings caused no discomfort whatsoever.
Nevertheless, the stings reminded me of 1 Corinthians 15. As a matter of fact, death is described as having a sting. It bites with a vengeance, sometimes gradually as seen with progressive illness, but sometimes rather quickly as loved ones are removed from this earth in a moment. However, the pain of death is overcome by the eternal victory of those who belong to Christ. Our lives on this earth, just as the fleeting stings and lives of yellow jackets, are only temporary. Death ultimately leads believers into the eternal glory of heaven. Thus, it is no wonder the scripture taunts death, saying, "..O, death, where is thy sting?" (I Corinthians 15:55). In other words, death, is that the best you can do?
The yellow jackets may have felt they had gotten the best of me. Yet, in the big picture, as a believer in Christ, I truly am the victor.
Hence, "...thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 15:57).