I sit in the porch rocker and soak up the silence. It’s a discipline I’m learning is essential to embracing the mysterious wonder of God but it does not come naturally to me, leaving room in my life for encountering the quiet without distraction. At home, the phone never stops, the emails just keep coming and the vacuum needs running more times in a day than seems practical. My life’s work seems utterly inconsequential to the Kingdom of God most of the time and I long for work that matters, for an influence of great proportion in the world. I am here, in the silence, to listen for confirmation of God’s call over my life, to hone in on my purpose in the grand scheme of things.
Try as I might, I cannot be free of the buzzing, the noise that cuts through the silence. Having been stung by a winged something-or-other already once this week, I am wary—attentive to its loud warning.
I finally see it in the silence when the buzzing stops, the fat black bee balanced atop a pink flower petal. I watch for a moment, abandoning my quest for peace and rest in my distracted curiosity. I am captured by the way it knows its own business, its mysterious movement around the tiny flower which may seem utterly insignificant in a lush garden paradise such as this. It is not the biggest or most vibrant flower but a tiny runt hanging slanted from the corner of the planter box, leaning anemically toward the sliver of sunlight that peeks through the wooden gables.
The buzzing becomes audible again and the enormous bee moves with deliberate purpose onto an even smaller flower, a downright puny thing. I watch with intrigue, expecting the stem to wilt under the bee’s weight. The bee is, after all, twice the size of its perch. Watching this bee who appears to do nothing but acrobatics, awakens me to the vastness of all I cannot see and do not understand about the world.
I know from my childhood years that the bee is involved in the act of pollination—a purpose which, when considering its global impact, is quite a critical one. Pollination aids in the plant life which sustains the oxygenation of this earth.
This silly, fuzzy little thing whose clamor fills the air—he is at work in the process of Creation. Pollination is essential to the life of this garden—essential even to the very air we breathe. And yet, he has no ministry or platform, no booming proclamation or special talent. He is, in both a glorious and completely simple way, moving through the world and doing his work.
It is said by minds much more scientific than mine that the bee is an aerodynamic mystery. According to our own understanding, it shouldn’t even be able to get its own body off the ground.
Me and you? We’re an aerodynamic mystery too.
There are things which the Lord has purposed for us. Great things, tiny things which we cannot accomplish according to the natural laws of the world.
But how the bee flies is not the bee’s concern. Its work is to carry out its purpose without regard to what the world thinks. And despite all its buzzy clamoring as it makes its way through the garden, the moments of purposed work happen silently and without fanfare.
I, who am wiser, bigger, and more powerful than this delicate creature with only one defense, cannot even detect the work he is doing, it is so infinitesimal. But the very air in my lungs that sustains my beating heart to carry this body through this big wide life is dependent upon the bee’s faithfulness to his creative purpose.
Similarly, the expansion of God’s Kingdom—the holy oxygen which gives us the breath of life—is released in this world through your “pollinating” work within it. It is not your concern how God uses your faithfulness for His purposes—you need just be faithful to that little or great thing he has given you—making a sandwich, writing a letter, composing a melody or folding a stack of towels.
It is not in the silence that my call is confirmed but in the impossibly loud buzzing sound of a bee in the garden.