Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Goodbye Strawberries

Strawberry season is coming to a close. This is always a bittersweet moment for berry lovers. The promise of new fruits is ahead but the lingering taste of a lush, vibrant and authentic strawberry ripe off the vine is still too fresh in the mind to be forgotten and too wonderful to not be missed.
The ending of the season is most evident in the strawberry fields of local farms. You-Pickers still scour the bushes for healthy, undamaged berries but their haul is always skimpier then at the peak of the season. So many of the ripe fruits have already been discovered by worms and buzzing insects. Others have been broken from their life-giving branch and trampled under the foot of passerbys. The berries that can still be found are prized and precious. They are a well-deserved reward for hard work and diligent searching.
When the last rows of strawberries have been picked over and the bushes produce their last hurrah of tantalizing fruit the farmers will turn over the fields and prepare to plant for next season. Then they will move on to the next crop ready to harvest. Blueberries.
For the berry lovers saying goodbye to the strawberry is certainly sad but it isn't the end. The promise of another berry and another harvest is alive and well. When the strawberry bushes stop producing fruit, the blueberries, raspberries and blackberries come alive in bright colors and delicious flavors. The end of strawberry season isn't the end. It is actually the beginning of berry season.  And then
beyond the berry there are peaches, plums and nectarines to be gathered and enjoyed. Sweet corn, peppers, squash and tomatoes soon reach their peak of perfection. The farm stands, short on strawberries, are full of farm fresh goodness. The year-long preparation of produce is just beginning to be revealed when the strawberries shrivel on the vine.
And so it is with God's goodness. When one blessing falls off the vine and retires for the season another luscious surprise is always fresh for the picking. God never leaves us in need of His holy nourishment. The produce He uses to feed our soul isn't the same in all seasons. He brings new harvests all the time, at their peak of freshness when our hearts will benefit from their mercies the most. But He never leaves us hungry. If we will turn our taste buds away from what has withered on the vine and look to the harvest ahead we will never be in want. Instead we will live in continual anticipation and excitement for the new promised pleasure blossoming in our field.
God doesn't let the strawberries in the farmer's fields or His children's lives bloom forever. He brings them in and out of season. But He is never done planting, harvesting and seeding for the future. He is a diligent and everlasting farmer, our God, and He is busy at work in the field of my life and yours, too. My strawberry season is long gone but I see something new is reaching its peak of perfection. It's time to get my basket and head out into the fields to collect the blessings that are ripe and ready for the harvesting.
Have you taken a good look at your field in recent days? Strawberries may be past their prime but I promise that God is nourishing you with a new treasure in the bushes of His blessings. I hope you're ready to get picking!

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