The summer sun is blinding hot here in Texas. A little moisture overnight rises up, baking itself into our skin and making us sweat endlessly. The welcome breeze through leaves above is the only sound apart from my husband’s laughter and the occasional “plop” of a fat, ripe apricot falling onto the soft earth beneath the tree’s canopy. This moment is an oasis of beautiful simplicity in the midst of a chaotic and overwhelming day. We fill up our cardboard box in no time and head inside to start the jam making process. Our appetites are not fit for this abundance.
As I pit, soften, mash, and simmer the fruit from our yard, my mind wanders. A few months ago I was so worried about this fruit. A year of growing our own food had taught us the value of the oft neglected but fully mature apricot tree in our front yard. I knew, I just knew that it would freeze right after the tree bloomed and that I wouldn’t see any fruit this year. It was a silly thing to get upset about, but I was. And now, here I am in my kitchen preserving the fruit that I thought would never come.
My hope wasn’t disappointed, even though I was just certain that it would be. And now, my friends and family get to enjoy some super yummy honey spiced apricot jam from now until it is long out of season. Because not only was my very specific hope not disappointed, it was beautifully fulfilled in droves. My cup, quite literally, overflows.
I want to hang onto this. I want to preserve it for myself, in a little jar in my spirit labeled “Hope Bountifully Fulfilled.” Because, if I’m honest? Most days I’m a little afraid. Most days I am a lot overwhelmed. Most days it is a battle to not let my convictions be molded by my culture. Most days, I am face to face with my lack of control and I cower before it. Most days I see Goliath and think about how puny my slingshot is, not how big my God is. All I have to do is turn on my computer, check my notifications, walk past the TV in the supermarket….there it is. A world full of hatred and confusion and hurts that break the heart of God. And my go-to state of being is afraid. Because that Serpent of Old still whispers, doesn’t he?
Does God really love me?
Am I really going to be okay?
Will my children be safe?
Will God really provide for me?
Does God really mean what He says, for me?
In the garden, before Eve gave in to those whispers, there was no need for apricot preserves. Our first parents were whole, they could pick the fruit ripe from the branch with certainty that there would be more tomorrow. They walked with God in the cool of the day, face to face. They didn’t know lack. They didn’t know disappointment. They didn’t know rotten fruit and unfulfilled dreams. But after that fateful day, mankind had to scramble for safety in an unsafe and uncertain wilderness. We have ever after felt the need to hustle for our worth, for our next meal. Our fruit, hard won and desperately hoped for, rots and decomposes if we don’t get to it in time. We have to save. We have to preserve if we want to be assured of nourishment tomorrow.
And then the Cross. Then the Gospel. Then the coming of the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to hustle God to fulfill our hopes. We can abandon the tendency that was bred into us through sin, that need to just make sure there will be enough to see us through. This magical thing happens when we are His and He is ours: He preserves. We have the Holy Spirit as a guarantee. Nothing can snatch us from His hand. Nothing can come between us and His great love for us. Yes, we still have to preserve our food, as far as I know we are not in the Kingdom yet. But our spirits, our souls, the parts of us that matter most and His promises to us, are all so safe. We are assured of those things. No matter how crazy this world gets. No matter how sad or how scary the headlines are. He is greater than the dark. Because of Jesus and what He did on the cross, some things will endure: The promise of His Word, who He is, and who we are in Him.
The same, yesterday, today, and forever.
The world can fall away and burn. The fruit can rot. The cabinets and bank account bare. We could not be more secure. There is an abundance assured for which our appetites are not big enough. In these crazy scary days, may those appetites grow! Our hope is not disappointed!
“Beth Biggers has been following Jesus for 11 years, married to Brandon for 7, and a mom for 5. Her sons Luke and Liam provide her with adventure, laughs, and content for her blog athttp://www.bethbiggers.com where she writes about family, faith, and urban homesteading.”
She would like to connect with you!