POTLUCK picnics are wonderful-so much good food prepared by a variety of good cooks. This one promised to be especially great. It was a "star party" in a beautiful park. The guest speaker was a renowned astronomer. There was a large crowd, ranging from infants to grandparents.
We soon, however, had a horde of uninvited guests swarming the area-yellow jackets! The event had been organized in order to share beauty, joy, love, information about the wonders of nature. Those yellow jackets didn't seem like part of that, but what could I do about them?
Well, for starters I could stop fretting about the "invasion" and do what I always do when I need help: pray! I'm a student of Christian Science, and I'm accustomed to turning to God for help in times of trouble.
I moved away from the main activity so that I could listen quietly to what God was telling me about the situation. As I prayed, I remembered a statement from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist. She points out: "A spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive" (p. 463).
I reasoned that these yellow jackets were attracted by the smell of delicious food; they were not planning an attack on us! So what was really offensive and needed removing was my own fear and annoyance. This reasoning took me beyond a mere human desire to be rid of the yellow jackets, though I must admit I wouldn't have objected to their disappearing! But my prayer had convinced me that God's ever-present love would not allow "a single element of error" to invade or interrupt the harmony of this occasion. Past experience had proved to me that such prayer is powerful, effective, and practical. And it was so on this occasion, as well.
With a great sense of peace I rejoined the group and proceeded to load up my plate and join a visitor sitting under a nearby tree. As we chatted he said, "Doesn't it bother you that there are three yellow jackets sitting on your plate?" I answered, "Not really. There's enough food for all of us-but I will use great caution to be sure none try to hitch a ride onto anything going into my mouth!" We laughed and the subject was dropped.
The uninvited visitors didn't leave, yet there was no agitation over their presence-no swatting, no undue concern, and no one was stung. Total harmony and peace reigned.
After sundown the astronomer spoke of the universe and man as under God's control. I had witnessed a small sample of this divine control with the yellow jackets. I had seen that nothing in God's creation has the desire or ability to harm anything else in that creation.
Driving home, I thought about the Bible story of Daniel in the lions' den. Daniel's love for God didn't keep him out of the lions' den, but it did protect him while he was in it. The lions didn't have to leave the premises-but they didn't eat Daniel, either! The book of Daniel tells us that God "shut the lions' mouths" (6:22). Mrs. Eddy explains in Science and Health: "Understanding the control which Love held over all, Daniel felt safe in the lions' den, and Paul proved the viper to be harmless. All of God's creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible" (p. 514).
To be perfectly honest, I hadn't given much thought to what is "useful" about a yellow jacket, but I learned that day to accept the "harmless" and "indestructible"! So these creatures were certainly "useful" in this particular incident when they served to remind me that we need never be afraid because God is ever present and in control.
If thou put the brethren
in remembrance of these things,
thou shalt be a good minister
of Jesus Christ.
I Timothy 4:6