(Not) Demanding Pomegranates

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(Originally posted on March 15, 2012, but I’m posting it again because “fruitfulness” is one of our topics in today’s Bloom Book Club video on Jean Fleming’s Pursue the Intentional Life, chapters 16-19.)

———-

On a typical Friday morning I started boiling water for oatmeal while Charles and our seven-year-old finished their Bible time by practicing memory verses. They do it out loud, so while I watched the water begin to bubble, I could hear them.

And why have you made us come up out of Egypt
to bring us to this evil place?
It is no place for grain
or figs
or vines
or pomegranates…
(Numbers 20:5)

When they practice memory verses, they say it over and over, so I heard it like a refrain. They say the words in a kind of cadence…

“It is no place for grain
or figs
or vines
or pomegranates…”

… and as I heard, I noticed. The list in this complaint was so specific. Grain, figs, vines, pomegranates. They questioned God and His goodness and faithfulness because they weren’t in a place that looked the way they wanted it to look. They were trying to dictate life. Could that be what made it an evil place?

How I have done the same when I complained to God that I was not bearing any fruit! I have tried to dictate what my fruitfulness is supposed to look like. Lord, what good am I doing for you?! I’m not discipling anyone [grain], people don’t pursue friendship with me [figs], I’m not leading any Bible studies [vines], and we haven’t been on a family short-term mission trip [pomegranates]!

Instead of demanding that God would make my life look a certain way, should I not instead look at my life the way God has made it? Shouldn’t I look for His purposes, for the way He wants to do things?

So I am not in a land good for pomegranates. But what is this land good for? Can God not bring purpose and beauty in cactus, in sage, in dust and tumbleweeds?

Father, I trust in your unfailing love and believe in your perfect plans. Help me not to make demands of you but instead to trust what you are doing, which is always better than what I can dream or imagine. May I have vision to see what You have given and respond accordingly.

———-

Photo credit: lyn, via Flickr Creative Commons

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