Thursday, August 1, 2013

“You Nasty…” and Other Challenges a Crown Bearer Faces

My sister-in-law, Marcia is a berry pickin’ queen!  When she goes out, she’s prepared!  She doesn’t leave the house without a cane and a pair of nippers, along with her bucket.  Decked out in long pants, long sleeves and a scarf on her head, Marcia uses the cane to pull distant brambles toward her and to find the luscious succulents hiding under branches near to the ground.  She uses the nippers to cut those old razor sharp brambles that aren’t producing anything except annoyance.  Brilliant!

While she’s quite a berry scout, through her years of experience, Marcia has learned that berry pickin’ can be risky business!  The story goes that, one year, she returned to the house with her bucket full of berries, but the back of her shirt was ripped to shreds, appearing as though a bear had attacked her from behind!  Now those are some wicked brambles!  Last year, she nearly fell into the swamp groping for the dangling temptations just out of her cane’s reach.  She is one dedicated berry picker!

There isn’t much conversation when we are picking berries together.  Except for the ecstatic, “Oh, my gosh!  Look at these,” an occasional “Ouch!  You nasty …”, and “Holy cow, it’s hot out here,” reaping our harvest is mostly business.

While it does have its trials, I love picking berries.  I could and do pick for hours!  Not only do I love being outside, I appreciate the free fruit and I enjoy dreaming about all the delicious berry recipes that will soon be filling our home with homemade freshness!  And… although it may seem foolish to most, I love the challenge of getting to the most “unreachable” berry.

Speaking of foolish… I wonder how many people have free fruit in their back forty and don’t even know it or worse yet, they know it, but don’t care.  “Too much work,” they say, “why in the world would I risk falling into the swamp, having my shirt torn off my back and frying in the hot summer sun when I can simply go to the store and just buy ‘em?”

Easier; yes, but where’s the adventure?  Where are the stories?  Where are the lessons learned?

Sadly, most of us look at life the way that we look at picking berries.
We’ll go to great extremes to skirt around anything that may be
somewhat prickly and treacherous in order to avoid discomfort.

We expect life to be easy and we get discouraged when it is not.  In fact, typically we attempt to pray away anything that resembles suffering.  However, according to Scripture, it seems that this expresses a misunderstanding of the purpose for life:

Consider it all joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:1-4

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to come to the end of life and discover that, while I may be old, I’m immature in my faith and lacking the greatest gift because, at all costs, I worked to avoid a little discomfort.  Instead, my heart’s desire is to be,

Blessed (as) the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

So... quit whining and get out there!  Use a “cane” to get through those rough spots in life, if you have to.  Who knows, you just might find yourself wearing a crown!


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845

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