I remember an incident when I was about 9 years old. We lived in California and in summer the grass on the hillside behind our house was long and dry—perfect for hours and hours of fun for the three of us kids. My sister, brother and I found big cardboard pieces to use for sleds. We crossed the street in back of our house, climbed through an open space in the barbed wire fence, hiked up the hill and got ready to go. Each of us grabbed the front end of our cardboard, pulled it up over our feet and down we’d fly all the way to the bottom. Then we’d do it again and again all day, until mom called us for dinner. One time I was sledding alone.
I got tired early so I folded my cardboard and headed home. I carefully lifted up a section of barbed wire and my foot hit a small log in the path. I must have disturbed a yellow jacket nest because instantly I was swarmed and attacked by them. They were all over me—my face, my arms, my head, even stinging me through my socks—and they just kept attacking and stinging. Yellow jackets aren’t like regular bees that lose their stinger and die after stinging you just one time. Yellow jackets can just keep on stinging. When I stepped on their nest, they were enraged. I managed to get myself out from under the barbed wire and ran to the middle of the street.
They followed me and surrounded me and kept stinging me over and over. I could do nothing to stop them. I flailed my arms trying to get them to stop but they wouldn’t. I panicked and froze there right in the middle of the street and screamed at the top of my lungs.
My mom came running out of the house and saw immediately what was going on. She grabbed me and quickly got me off the street and into our driveway. She turned the water on and hosed me down. Then she took me, sopping wet, into the house, where she slathered me from head to toe in calamine lotion, finally easing the pain of probably over a hundred yellow jacket stings.
This memory reminds me of the Bible story about the man from the Gadarenes. He was being attacked by a legion of devil spirits. Most sources say a legion can be as many as 6000 in number. The man was lashing out, tearing at himself and scaring everyone, that is, except Jesus. The man wasn’t in his right mind but Jesus had compassion on him and rescued the man. Jesus set him free from the attacks and the people “found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind” (Luke 8:34).
My mom rescued me and calmed the stings. Jesus rescued the man and calmed him. The man regained a sane mind rather than the insane one. Sometimes we act a little insane too when we get bombarded by any enemy source.
Let’s be a little more compassionate when dealing with people. We don’t always know what has been attacking or swarming them.
Like the Bible says in 1 Peter 3:8: “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble” (1 Peter 3:8).
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