Growing up my family would pick blackberries every summer and make jelly. This is a tradition our family has delighted in keeping. The quest for the biggest berries hiding in the vines always brings a little competition among those picking. There is also some discomfort. They grow best in the sun. There is the heat to contend with, and it takes several hours to gather enough berries to make the jelly. Spiders and chiggers like the habitat, and the briars prick your hands and legs as you dig deep into the bushes. My brother-in-law said, “Why don’t you just buy the jelly”? The response from my sister and me was, “It’s not the same.” When I reflect on this tradition, there are some life lessons that I can take away. One, the things we value often require the sacrifice of our time. Two, the light of the Holy Spirit in my life helps me see clearly in the dark places. Three, pain and discomfort in life produce beautiful fruit and spiritual maturity when we turn to Jesus and ask Him to grow us in and through it. I don’t think any of us look for it, but life is full of pain. Many times it comes in forms and times we least expect. Pain catches us off guard, unlike the berry patch that is predictable. As believers, we have a hope and a peace that, regardless of what life brings, we have a Savior who suffered for us, knows us, and walks with us in all of life’s circumstances. Look for the harvest of righteousness. Enjoy the fruit!
– Susan Fisher, Disciple Ministry Director