Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bitter Season

Maybe you've noticed something about this blog... I love to take the illustrations from the Bible and see how they actually apply in daily life.

I've been thinking about fruit again. Probably because we really don't get much real fruit in the dining common here at the big Bob, or maybe because I'm really hungry... who wants to study accounting when you can eat?!

Think of a peach. Sweet, succulent, so juicy you don't even really have to bite into it to enjoy its flavor because it can't even contain itself. That peach from the summer that is just AMAZING!

Did you know that it did not always exist in that form? Well duh! A peach has to grow and go through many changes to become the fruit that it is.

What are those changes?

So much has to happen in order to get from a flower bud to get it to a point where it actually resembles fruit.

But I want to point one more thing out. If you eat the fruit when it first appears in a fruit-like state, you will be sadly disappointed.

Every piece of fruit must go through a season of bitterness in order to mature to perfect sweetness.

I'm going to ask you to not think of the definition of bitterness that I normally use on this blog, that of deep anger that festers in your soul and consumes you. But rather think of bitterness as something that is not pleasant in our general vernacular.

Throughout the Bible, we see the theme that suffering is part of our life. Think about Job. He was put through a trial that was beyond what what I can imagine, yet this was part of a divine plan by God. Through the trial, Job's faith was tried and refined. In James 1, we read that we ought to count it all joy when we have these trials and temptations because they are working patience in our life. Our trials bring us from fruit that, while it is there, is yet immature. It is necessary for fruit to mature, not just because we like to eat sweet, ripe fruit, but because of how God designed the tree to reproduce. If the unripe peach were to fall to the ground, it would not be able to grow the seed pit inside of it. That is just how it works. So too, we cannot expect to reproduce our fruit until it reaches some point of maturity.

One other thing I would like to point out. This process of growth through a season of bitterness happens yearly for peach trees. A few weeks ago, I would love to have thought that I had arrived spiritually. I thought all of my fruit was perfect and I didn't need to grow anymore. The reality is, just like a tree, we don't stop growing. At some point, we drop our fruit and start all over.

Here's hope, though. From what I have heard from farmers, every year, the fruit is better then the year before. This is because not only does the fruit go through a process of maturing, but also the tree itself. As we grow spiritually, we don't really have moments when we drop all the back to where we were before we were saved, but we have moments when we have to grow.

And sometimes, that means going through a bitter season.

Because of Him,

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