Watermelons. Mangos. Papayas. Avocados. Cantaloupes. Casabas. These are just a few of my favorite things.
Growing up in El Paso we had easy access to a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. As a child long ago I remember being in Juarez, Mexico, just a few miles from where we were living at the time. In those days it was more than safe to cross the border.
During warm summer months, street vendors sold all kinds of items, many in moveable carts filled with blocks of ice. On a hot summer day, one street vendor was selling chilled fresh mangos. I’d not had one before. I told the man I’d like one and he handed it to me. Little did I know he handed it to me so that he could retrieve something with which to peel the fruit
While mango skin may look appealing, I’d advise against eating it. It’s just about as bad as munching on avocado or papaya skin.
The other day I pulled a mango out of our refrigerator and proceeded to peel it. It was simply delicious and as I was eating it, I could nearly taste what I did so many years ago when I first bit into mango skin on the streets of Juarez.
Over all these years, had I not been willing to taste what is beyond the skin of a mango, I would have missed out on this delightful fruit.
What a great reminder that just as we cannot judge a book by its cover, we cannot judge a fruit by its skin. Perhaps with all the mudslinging going on at a national level, we should pause for a moment and reflect upon what God has to teach us through all the delicious things God has created. How can we really know anything about another without taking the time to see what is on the inside?
Love and prayers
The very essence of God is love. We learn this in scripture and through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Because God is love, our living God is one of change. I cannot find one story in scripture in which God says to a person, “You have it all down. There is no more room for growth and nothing left to learn.”
God wants more for each of us as we journey through life and He loves us too much to let us stay just as we are in every way. While sometimes difficult, painful, and confusing, God invites us into changes that will lead to a clearer sense of purpose, greater joy, peace, healing, and a life that increasingly becomes about loving God, others, and ourselves.
There are countless examples of God changing people from the inside out in scripture. You might even say that the Old and New Testaments are about how God changes people in every conceivable way.
For example, God changed Paul as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 9. God transformed Paul from a self-righteous, overly certain, angry, militant enforcer to a man that spread the love and forgiveness of Jesus across the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It was no less than a 180 degree turn around.
God changed Peter as described in the Gospels and the Book of Acts. Peter’s life was about running a fishing business. Jesus asked Peter to follow him. Over the subsequent months, Peter’s priorities, values, world-view, purpose, and self-definition fundamentally shifted.
God changed Mary Magdalene. She lived a life of utter torment and despair until Jesus radically altered her by liberating her from destroying spirits within. God changed Rahab. She made a living selling her body to men until God intervened and gave her a new calling in life.
While God does respond to prayer and helps us with the changes we desire, what is good news is that God often changes people who are not asking for anything or seeking any change. Sometimes God overrides our plans and our ways of seeing and doing things.
God also changes people we think will never change. The story of Paul is a great example as we can be certain that few expected Paul would ever be different than the vicious man he was.
God is a God who interrupts us sometimes and often life’s inconveniences, frustrations, and unexpected events can be God’s way of moving us toward some needed change. If you look at the stories of transformation in scripture, it is evident that change is an ongoing process as God continually works through us.
The Good News in all of this is that God does, can, and will change us. For those of us who know we don’t have it all down and understand we need some changes in various areas of life, this indeed is very Good News.
I invite you this week to explore needed changes in your life. To ask questions such as, “If I am honest with myself, I know I need God’s help to change…” Or, “What changes have I been resisting and why?” Or, “How do I need God to break into my life?” Or, “What might all the interruptions in my plans lately be telling me?”
Whatever questions you take the time to explore, know that God loves you and that God is acting in our lives even when we don’t sense His presence.
Love and prayers