I’m in the process of moving old content to this new space…so I’m going to be posting some repeats…here’s the first of many. I hope you enjoy this. It was originally published on September 24, 2013.
I recently discovered that an apple tree in my backyard produces the most ah-mazing apples! They are the perfect combination of tart and sweet and produce the perfect crunch when you bite into them. The kids and I spent quite a while basking in yesterday’s glorious, skin-warming sun picking these little red treasures.
While they went onto ride bikes on the road surrounded by this year’s corn and soybean crops, I pondered long and hard about the many options for my apples. I grabbed a large bowl, my peeler, a knife and the basket of apples. I took my place on the front porch, with the long shadows of the house and the trees surrounding me and set about peeling the splendid riches God provided.
As I was peeling these apples, I couldn’t help but contemplate that this is how God means for us to be. He wants to peel away our tough exterior – the protective coating – the shell we use to try to keep all things at bay. He strives to shave away this covering so that we can be transparent – vulnerable – exposed so that we can be a witness to others around us.
As I was cutting out the bad spots in the apples, I realized this is how God prepares us too. He turns us all around, looks us over, and removes the ‘bad spots’ – things like selfishness, greed, laziness, pride, envy. He desires for us to grasp that we are more than our exterior – by what the world judges us.
Once my work with the apple was complete, I was left with a misshapen, grouted, ‘holey’ apple on the outside. It looked ANYTHING but perfect…you know, perfect like the ones you see in the stores – all perfectly apple shaped, perfectly polished and perfectly shiny – on display to be chosen as the best looking, sweet, crisp, perfect treat. But one bite into this deformed beauty would have your taste buds dancing!
It began to dawn on me that that is how we Christians can be made to feel – that we have to have it all together – we have to be perfectly smooth, impeccably glossy; perfect in our outward appearance. But what God glorifies in – – – what He lives, and loves, for, is allowing us to be bruised, broken, misshapen, and vulnerable on the outside, so that, when He peels back our dirty exterior, prods out our bad spots like pride and vanity, we can be cut into to be used in a recipe for something greater – something we may know nothing of…we are just trusting in the Master Baker. So when we have fulfilled our purpose, we don’t see ourselves as the beginning product – the ugly apple – we only see and experience ourselves as the beautiful finished product – an ingredient in God’s recipe for delicious apple crisp – tart and sweet at the same time.
Because life is full of moments that are tart and biting, ones that make us pucker up. But it’s also filled to the dish’s edge with sweet moments – those we know we should savor. And it’s the combination of these moments – the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ – that make us a creation of the Creator’s…a reason to cling to His goodness and rejoice in every acidic and sugary sweet flash in time.