Amanda glanced askance out the window of her room at Mercy Hospital, unable to swallow the bland lunch set before her, "good" for her acute diverticulitis but murder on her appetite. The thought of any visits from her so-called "Christian" friends was like cold metal to her tongue: totally bitter and unappealing.
"It's turn or burn," they'd tell her as her fever skyrocketed. "Don't be like King Jehoram whom God struck with a deadly case of irritable bowel syndrome. Give your life to Jesus while you still have time."
So they said, yet no one really seemed to care whether or not Amanda lived or died.
A knock on the door interrupted her thoughts.
"Hi, I'm Pastor Fletcher from Grace Glory church. May I come in?" Oddly enough, he seemed pretty joyful for a Christian. There must be something wrong.
"Oh, all right," said Amanda. She stared wide-eyed at the giant Bible he'd brought with him. "So what story are you going to blast me with?"
"Well, actually, I was going to offer you a bit of honey," he replied, unfazed by her bitter tone.
His comment whet her curiosity. "Oh?" She offered him a chair. "Please, sit down."
"Actually, I prefer to stand. Got a lion to battle. Can't let my guard down."
Amanda looked around the room. "Lion? What lion? I don't see any lions here. Are you pulling my leg?"
"No, but I am getting ready to rip apart the spiritual king of beasts who's been eating you alive. Its carcass is swarming with honey."
"Honey from a lion? Sounds nasty."
"On the contrary, it's perfectly sweet," said Pastor Fletcher. "Like the comb Samson gave his parents, or the drops of golden joy that strengthened Jonathan to win a great victory over the Philistines. Or the honeycomb Jesus ate after his resurrection."
"Honeycomb? I never heard he ate a honeycomb."
"Many modern translations leave that part out. Too controversial. Honey's that way, you know."
"Of course. Its riddle stumps worldly 'Philistines' and infuriates religious guys like Saul, who brought a curse upon his son for failure to fast in time of war."
"Fast in time of war?" cried Amanda. "That's insane! Don't soldiers need their energy?"
"True, but try telling that to a king who once acted as his own mediator between his men and a holy God. He was supposed to wait for Samuel to offer up the spotless lamb, in order to atone for sin and win God's favor. But as the jaws of death closed in on him, he took the job upon himself - just like the legalistic guys who had Jesus Christ crucified. Rather than rejoice in the honey of healing He fed the poor, they cooked up a kettle of controversy to condemn the Lamb of God for not following their own manmade 'recipe.'"
Amanda stuck her tongue out at the thought. "Sounds like one of those crazy cooking shows where the chefs are at each other's throats."
"Yes, but with one important difference," said the pastor. "You see, Jesus could have cut all his competitors to pieces, but he didn't. Instead he took up his cross and on it drank the bitter gall of all our sin. On his back he bore the sour whiplash of our sickness. In fact, he plumbed the very depths of Satan's mouth, hell's own worm-eaten kitchen, to draw from it the sweet honeycomb of forgiveness, dipped in the Father's perfect love. The question is, will you accept it?"
"Of course I will," said Amanda. "How could I refuse?"
"Then it's yours - right here, right now," said the pastor. He laid hands on Amanda and commanded the diverticulitis to leave in Jesus' name.
An immediate sense of peace flooded Amanda's body. It was as if someone had poured into her a stream of bubbling waters sent straight from heaven.
"All the pain is gone!" she exclaimed. "I'm healed. I'm really healed!"
"And the best part," added the pastor, "is that He who heals the body also saves the soul. Would you like to know Him as your savior?"
"You bet I would."
Later that day Amanda left the hospital a new creation in Christ, all because of a little bit of honey drawn from the mouth of a roaring lion.
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