When a Good Thing is Bad for You

This morning, yellowjackets descend upon the raspberry patch. Perhaps they’ve nested down below the stalks in the ground. I see so many of them greedily clinging to the ripe raspberries, and I back off, bowl in hand, and run back to the house.

I think of those sweet berries with all those yellowjackets on their backs.

I know these insects. I know all about them. Yellowjackets sting repeatedly and aggressively; they target and pursue. A yellowjacket attack brings the worst kind of pain. It lingers and swells.

Years ago, at Camp Greystone, my campers and I walked through a yellowjacket nest hidden in the mulch. As they ran for safety–and I stayed to ensure they all made it far away–I endured six stings up my leg. The pain nearly knocked me out. That summer, I learned of my allergy to yellowjackets: the hives, the labored breathing, the epi-pen that I’d now carry for my whole life, wherever I go.

Someone else can pick my luscious raspberries. Someone else can enjoy that harvest.

Sometimes, a good thing isn’t good for you. It’s not where you should be; it’s not going to bring you life or peace. In fact, that good thing might carry with it something toxic, something that just might kill you.

I remember this when it seems like God withholds some kind of good thing. It might not be good me.

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