My husband, Thad grew up in the rural farm lands of Indiana where he and his older brother and sister spent wonderful times visiting their mother’s childhood farm. On one such occasion, his brother and sister decided to goad him into eating an unripe persimmon. Now Thad being all of about 4 or 5 only knew that he dearly loved persimmons and the pudding that his mother made each fall out of this wonderful fruit. So with little prodding, Thad took a big bite out of a smooth orange/green persimmon only to find his taste buds meeting with the bitter taste of unripe fruit. His mouth puckered up ten times worse than greenest apple you could ever bite into! To make it worse, the taste of bitter fruit lingered for days!
The following fall Thad refused to pick persimmons with his mom. Only when she showed him the difference between the unripe and ripened fruit and how she used the ripe fruit to make the persimmon pudding, did he finally overcome his fear of the fruit.
Have you experienced a bitter fruit? Are you going through a crisis at this time? John F Kennedy once said that “written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.
One of the most bitter times in my life was when our only child, Francesca was battling an eating disorder. It nearly killed her and almost destroyed our relationship with her. My family was in crisis. However, today, I see this awful disease as a stepping stone that brought my husband and I back to our faith, as well as relinquished my need to control all things. It forced me to trust God and rest in His hands.
In this life we can expect bitter fruits , and we may even start to feel full of self-pity. With faith that these setbacks are meant to help us grow stronger, we won’t waste them and end up having to face them again and again until we recognize their true purpose.
Prayer: Today, Lord, whenever we are faced with a bitter test in our lives, let us think of the bitter taste of the unripe persimmon. Help us to use our faith as comfort and to look beyond the trials to see how we will grow from them. And in time, Father God, may we see how even the bitter fruit such as a green persimmon may eventually become the source of something sweet such as persimmon pudding. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way. James 1: 2-3 The Message.