Have you ever tasted perfectly ripe wild blackberries, just picked from the vine?
Their sweetness and flavor are unrivaled by anything in the grocery store. Holding this basketful encouraged me, as God can grow sweet fruit among thorny vines along cement paths. He is growing good things in unexpected places of our lives!
I enjoy the quiet, slow process of picking a perfect container full of blackberries. I slip out in the quiet morning to pick them. They grow wild and unbidden along the edges of untended property in Oregon. The record-breaking heat this summer brought on an early blackberry harvest, nearly by a month.
In the quiet I am alone, as I walk three blocks there, pick berries, and return home.
The first and often largest berries are just ripening on these vines. There are a couple tricks for picking them. One is to be patient, not picking just any black berry, but only the ones that fully round and ripe. Otherwise, you’ll have a batch of sour berries!
The other is to crouch down, lean or crawl under the vines, and from a low point look upward. There are many ripe berries hiding behind the leaves and unripe clusters.
Be patient. Again, grabbing the first black berry I see won’t work. It takes some searching for the ripe ones. And picking the unripe ones steals sweet fruit from tomorrow. It takes time to see the plan God is unfolding, and for sweet fruit to ripen in our lives and character.
Don’t be afraid of quiet, lonely places. They may seem ordinary or undesirable at first glance. Like a cement pathway lined by thorns. But by looking carefully we may discover a hidden harvest. God often works in solitude, slowing, and silence.
Be humble. By making myself small and slipping under thorny vines, looking upward from low places, it’s possible to discover a wealth of berries.
And sometimes, heat brings an early harvest! The blackberries grew well and ripened early because of this unusually hot summer. Difficulty and suffering can be the “heat” in our lives that causes us to grow or speeds up growth. When we turn our hearts to God, He can grow good fruit no matter how hot it is.
The pricks of blackberry thorns to reach berries is worth it because of the sweetness of the fruit.
He is at work to grow fruit in our lives. No matter how long the heat lasts, He is with us, will sustain us, and He will accomplish His good purposes. The results will be sweet.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
What is the heat – the difficulty – in your life?
Is God asking you to be patient, humble, or experience circumstances that are more quiet and lonely than you wish?
What sweet fruit might be ripening?
What can you do to grow roots of trust in God?
Kathryn Featherstone is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and a board-certified Christian Life Coach. Write her a note if this post resonates with you, or you would like to learn more about being coached.