Overcoming, Promise 3
“When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad; I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.”Oscar Hammerstein II
Today, we begin to understand a promise made to the church at Smyrna over 2000 years ago. Yet, I believe we will find it just as relevant for us today!
The opening quote is from The Sound of Music, a classic story of how good overcomes evil. In this portion of the song, Hammerstein writes about dog bites and bee stings – two twin evils I wish I didn’t have personal experience with!
I grew up in the South. We have a lot of home remedies there! Once, I was walking to the store, barefoot of course, and stepped on a bee. After being stung, a stranger walked up to me, took out his cigarette, cut it open, and said, “Here, hold this on the spot…the tobacco will draw out the poison.” I have no idea on the medical efficacy of his advice, but I’m still alive today!
Again, as a small child, I was playing in the woods behind my grandparents’ house. Once again, I was barefooted. This time I stepped in a hornet’s nest and was stung more times than I can remember. My foot and ankle were swollen for a while. I developed an aversion as well as an allergic reaction to bees after this. Any time I would get stung after this, it required a trip to drug store and/or a doctor’s visit.
Given this intense fear of bees, anytime I would see one I would become anxious, fearful, and begin to panic. A few years later, I was stung again. Knowing I was now allergic, I had two fears: 1) I was going to be stung multiple times again, and 2) I was going to die.
My dad saw me in my distress. I was flailing at the bee that had just stung me. My dad calmed me down, captured the bee, and said, “Son, this bee only has one stinger…It’s gone now. It can never sting you again.” (Oh, and by the way, “You’re not going to die…we’ve got you covered!”)
The sting(er) had been taken away, removed, gone. Once the stinger is removed, the cause for fear is removed as well. We find a parallel truth to this reality in Revelation 2.11 as John gives another promise for overcomers:
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
This promise brings to mind another Scripture as well. Though not written by John, the truth runs alongside of what he has stated. In 1 Corinthians 15.55, Paul states (in that great Resurrection chapter): “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Death has lost its stinger! We as overcomers will not be stung by the second death. What a promise!
In the next post, we’ll begin to understand the historical background of the city of Smyrna and the church there. You’ll find that this knowledge makes the promise to this church even more vivid!
Just joining us on the journey? Follow the links below to see the previous posts. (To minimize the number of links, I’ve only added the first part of each section.)