Our daughter has a crab apple tree in her garden. When we visited her a little while ago it was laden with ripe fruit. In case you don’t know, crab apples are very small (smaller than walnuts, mostly) and hard. Many of hers were blighted with black scabby marks.
“You can take as many as you can pick”, she said. I jumped at it and soon her ten-year-old daughter and I were picking as fast as we could. Why would I want to pick such apparently unappetising fruit? It was because all the time I was thinking of crab apple and ginger jelly. If you’ve never had it, believe me, it’s just about the best jam in the world. You might say that, as I was picking the fruit, I could see the end from the beginning. And it made my mouth water!
I guess we picked about a thousand of them. When we got them home, I removed the stalks from each one and chopped each into quarters – four thousand quarters! Then Sue measured out the right quantities of water and boiled the fruit. After that we strained out the juice. Then she added just the right amount of sugar and I put some crushed root ginger into a little bag that floated in the juice. Sue boiled it to the right temperature and then we put it into jars. There was a small amount left over that we put into a little pot. Of course, we couldn’t resist dipping a spoon in and tasting it – Yummy!
When God takes hold of our lives, it’s a bit like picking crab apples. We might think that we aren’t that appealing. But He’s chosen us and drawn us to Himself because He sees the end from the beginning. He sees beyond the outward appearance to what, in His hands, each one of us will become – just like me, thinking of crab apple and ginger jelly as I pick the fruit. He may well have some work to do – and we may even find some of it painful (like the fruit being chopped up and boiled). But at the same time, He will pour in the water of the Holy Spirit and add the sugar of His love and the spice of His power.
And the end product will be renewed people who bring delight and refreshment to those around them. That’s what God sees when he takes hold of us. And we need to see it too, as we allow Him to work in our lives.
Prayer: Father, thank You so much that You see the end from the very beginning. Thank You that You are at work in my life, changing me more and more into Christ’s likeness. Today I submit myself to Your loving and creative hands to make me all that You want me to be. Amen.
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