March 31, 2018 • Life for Leaders
Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
We have discovered stink bugs in our new house. Every now and then, one or two of the armor-shaped insects meanders into plain view—usually balancing just above the window, or slowly lumbering along the seam where the wall meets the ceiling of our living room. Never in a hurry, these prehistoric looking bugs are not startled when one of us—my husband or I—approaches them, usually with a postcard-sized insert from a magazine, scoops them up, and relocates them outside.
The stink bug is undeterred. Unless, of course, you threaten her. Then, she emits an odor that lingers for a time beyond what seems reasonable and which defies any attempts at accurate description. I like to say it smells like cilantro, but that falls way too short, and is far too kind. She is aptly named.
To date, we’ve probably relocated nearly two dozen stink bugs from inside our house to the great outdoors. And, being newly introduced to stink bugs, I’ve done a bit of internet research to learn more about them. In an article titled, “When Twenty-Six Thousand Stink Bugs Invade Your Home,” I read about Pam Stone and Paul Zimmerman, who spent an entire night deftly evicting tens of thousands of stink bugs from their South Carolina home. But, each time they opened the door, more stink bugs entered, their heavy, unwieldy bodies struggling to stay aloft as they flew past the threshold and joined the stink bug party going on inside.
So, what can a homeowner do to clear her home of these unwanted guests? What can a farmer do to protect her crops, with stink bugs capable of damaging every single ear of corn? Not much, it appears. Even the most powerful pesticides seem no match for the humble stink bug:
A class of pesticides known as pyrethroids, which are used to control native stink bugs, initially appeared to work just as well on the brown marmorated kind—until a day or two later, when more than a third of the ostensibly dead bugs rose up, Lazarus-like, and calmly resumed the business of demolition. (New Yorker)
I read that sentence and thought of myself—of all of us. I teeter through life as if on the edge of a windowsill, my progress often slow, my thoughts occasionally sluggish. I sometimes follow the crowd and end up where I shouldn’t be. I try very hard to be a pleasing aroma in the world, but sometimes, if I feel threatened, I may lash out or overreact, leaving a less than desirable impression on others.
Despite all of this, Christ has given to me and to you, the promise of resurrection. And, unlike the resurrection experienced by Lazarus or the stink bugs in the story I read, the resurrection we’ve been promised is both eternal and life-giving. So lumber on, my brothers and sisters. Live in the promise we’ve been given. Don’t be deterred and try not to feel threatened. Know that Christ has the final word and life is ours for the asking.
Something to Think About:
Is resurrection a once-in-a-lifetime event, or does it happen more often than that?
Do you think resurrection is only physical? Why, or why not?
Something to Do:
Read the New Yorker article about stink bugs. Spend some time praying grace over homeowners, farmers, scientists, and insects.
Lord, I’m not sure I really understand what resurrection is all about. I don’t claim to know the details or possess all knowledge about what it must have been like for the disciples in the dark days after the death of Jesus. What I do know is there is more to this world than what I can see. As I lumber my way through life, keep me hopeful, teachable, loving, and gentle. Help me be more like Jesus. Amen.