Many years ago, my family and I discovered that the vacant field next to our property was lush with blackberries. Oh boy! Blackberry cobbler coming up! The whole family grabbed plastic buckets and started harvesting berries. We spent the better part of a day working our way through the field, dropping berries into our containers, until we had a sizable amount. Then the preparation for the cobbler began. Mmmmm…….. couldn’t wait!
After the ingredients were assembled and the pan placed in the oven, we sat in anticipation for a large helping of the luscious dessert. When it was ready, we spooned portions into everyone’s bowls and dug in ravenously ……… only to discover ……. bitter! Very bitter! The berries weren’t sweet at all!
I don’t know that much about blackberries, but when I was a child, our family used to pick along the side of a dirt road. As long as the fruit had turned dark, it was okay to eat. And to my knowledge, we never harvested any that were bitter. So what happened? Why was this fruit so awful?
I have since learned that there are several possible reasons for bitter blackberries:
- The bushes are old – these probably were
- They haven’t been watered enough – quite possible since they were growing wild
- Even though the berries were black, they still weren’t mature enough to harvest – also possible
Disappointment comes in many flavors ……… including blackberry.
Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV)
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Disappointment is the place where bitterness usually begins, and there’s no avoiding disappointment. When you don’t get the results you expect from any given situation, the only solution is grace. Grace enough to say, “Well it may not be exactly what I wanted, but I’m willing to live with it.” Grace enough to say, “Your actions disappoint me, but I love you and forgive you anyway.” Grace enough to admit that you also have given others plenty of reasons to be disappointed.
As for the bitter blackberry cobbler? Well, we just had to throw it out.
Life is full of little disappointments ………..