Sin's Prison

Today I decided to spend my lunch break sitting on a picnic table on the playground where I work. I'm so blessed to have a spot like that where I can enjoy the weather while the warm temperatures last. At 1:30, I took my Coke Zero from the freezer where I keep on the point of icing over, grabbed some stuff I was working on, and headed out the door.

The sunshine was perfect, not too hot, nor too bright for me to read my papers. I was concentrating on my work when I heard a bee buzz past my ears. I cringed, and the bee flew past my shoulders into the soda can. At first I was aggravated--the soda can was practically full and now I couldn't drink it at all! I waited a moment to see if it would fly back out, but it didn't. I noticed that the bee was clearly circling inside the can, because I could hear a faint whistle of air movement magnified in the can, making an almost musical sound. I forgot my work and started to observe. The bee flew around and around the can. Occasionally the whistle noise would stop, and I figured the bee either grasped the pop-top on the inside of the can for a little rest, or maybe dropped from fatigue into the soda. I kept waiting for the bee to emerge.

Finally about 10 minutes later, I heard the whistle stop again, followed by a rush of wings past my face. I froze in place, sure that the bee would be angry. It flew around wildly, darting in and out of the picnic table legs, with the joy of someone finally freed from prison.

About one minute later, it dropped back on the soda can, and crawled back in.

I thought to myself, "You stupid bee. You just got out after all that work, and now look, you're right back in trouble." I thought of Paul's explanation of the sin nature in Romans 7, "If the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me, and gets the better of me every time."

All of my judgment against the bee, doing what was in his nature, faded in the light of my own weakness. Like Paul, I struggle against finding myself back in the same sinful situation I just struggled my way out of. Without Christ to set me free, I would circle the soda can until I died, just like the bee eventually did, drowned in the syrupy stickiness of his own foolishness.
Ariel Rainey