Yuck!

Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and they came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion came toward him roaring. Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.

After some days he returned to take her. And he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. 9 He scraped it out into his hands and went on, eating as he went. And he came to his father and mother and gave some to them, and they ate. But he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion. (Judges 14: 5-6, 8-9)

For many years, I have read this story with only one thing in mind: a big, fat YUCK! Never mind that Samson killed the lion singlehandedly. Never mind that the killing was done with his bare hands. Never mind that this story is politically incorrect nowadays because of animal cruelty issues.

In fact, I lost sight of the spiritual implications of the story just because I couldn’t stomach the thought of eating honey taken from the decaying carcass of a lion. I mean, come on! We’re talking about a stinking, slowly rotting, flies infested body of an animal that was just thrown in the back woods. Can you imagine scooping a bottle of honey from that thing? Where did the honey come from? Did it drip from the eyes, ears, mouth? Or was there a pool of honey somewhere in the stomach area?

Yuck!

Until I read John Bunyan‘s writing today. The opening of his book Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners arrested my thoughts:

“Temptations, when we meet them at first, are as the lion that roared upon Samson; but if we overcome them, the next time we see them, we shall find a nest of honey within them.”

There, no more “yuck.” Finally, I understood.

Like a lion, trials and temptations are scary. They can be very intimidating. Sometimes when we face them, they make us want to cower in fear and run away. But that doesn’t mean they are undefeatable. If we stand our ground and, like Samson, allow the Spirit of the Lord to rush upon our hearts, we can walk away from the scene as victors, not victims.

The next time we pass that way again, we are not struck with fear anymore. We see blessings, favor, goodness and victory. What used to be a cause for fear will now be a cause for rejoicing and praise.