(This is Part 6 of our devotional series “Press – The Musical”.)
Good morning, peeps!
“That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” – Romans 8:28 MSG
I know the last couple of installments in this series have not been the most fun. They’ve been painful and hard to swallow. There is nothing I can do about it. God’s running this. As I prayed this morning, I said “Okay, God. Surely we’re past all of that and now we can get to encouraging folks. Right?” If ever I needed confirmation that God has a sense of humor, I got it in the next thing that went through my mind. It was a line from Jermaine Jackson’s song, “Don’t Take It Personal”: don’t take it personal ~ take the bitter with the sweet.
Oh dear Lord. PLEASE do not let that get stuck in my head.
I’m a fan of all things apple: juice, pie, cake, cookies, candy, dust. I’ll tear it up and God reminded me of this as I started saying “Come, Holy SPIR-RAAAAAT!” in an effort to quiet Jermaine’s voice in my head. Now, I’m seeing the music video in my mind. Make it stop! I love apples. Oooh, y’all. I have a big ol’ bag of them on my kitchen counter. Those things are the bomb. Gala and Pink Lady are my favorite varieties. Have you ever had them? Good grief. Those are the juiciest, most sweetest apples in all creation. Anyhoo, when God brought the apple to mind, I thought about how I eat them: with the skin on. I’m not a fan of it, but I rarely have the time or patience to remove the skin so I just eat it. It wasn’t until today that I thought of this: the skin itself is not all that great tastin’. It is not. Peel an apple and remove every stitch of apple flesh from the skin and then eat it. Whatcha think? Not all that yummy is it?
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 KJV
As I pondered this, I thought of how apple juice is made…and then I poured myself a glass. Did you know that the entire apple is used in the making of apple juice? (I’m referring to mass production. If you peel yours, ‘yay’ for you.) They don’t core it and they definitely don’t peel the skin off. Every bit of that fruit is used to make this *gulp* absolutely delicious *gulp* liquid. EVERY BIT OF IT. And that is what God impressed upon my heart this morning. I was reminded of the above scripture and thought, “Folks may as well forget it if they think that any part of this devotional series is going to be sans pain.” There is pain AND joy. It all works together. Yes, it would be great if God could just give us the honey and the sweetness without the pain and death, but that’s not how this works. Romans 8:28 says, “ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD.” Apple juice sure is good and if it takes the crushing of skin, flesh and core to make the good stuff, then gettuh crushin’.
I really hate that I just said that. Man. Why did I just say that??
Life it can leave ~ you so bitter, bitter, bitter, bitter ~ but you must believe ~ that it gets better, better, better, better
Wouldn’t it be super funners if we could just get to the good stuff like this:
God doesn’t fast-forward past the yuck to the sweet parts of our lives like I do whenever I’m watching a movie at home: “Get to the juicy part!!” Nah. God uses every bit of what we deal with to bring forth what is His good and perfect will. And I don’t know if I would have it any other way. I said that like I have a say in it. Ha! But for real. The “better” I have in my life is only there because of the “bitter” I had. And sometimes it seems like both of those are going on at the same time. True story. Eventually we’ll get to the fun devotionals, but I know that right now this super un-sunny post is lifting the spirit of someone who’s feeling like every part of them is being crushed. Keep your head up: it gets better, better, better, better.
Song lyrics from “Better” by Jessica Reedy