by Del Tackett
It is, I suppose, a mark of our lack of gratitude that we have to set aside a day for it. A few days ago, we were having dinner at my daughter’s house. She and my son-in-law had a large pumpkin on the coffee table upon which our grandkids were daily writing things they were thankful for.
I find, unfortunately, that the things that come to my mind in these instances, and what prompted the things I wrote on the pumpkin, were those things that made me happy or content or satisfied. This morning, however, my wife brought in this little tomato. She is still nursing tomatoes in the Black Forest of Colorado and it is nearly December. It is very hard, at 7200’, to coax forth any fruit or vegetable life, yet here was this final little tomato.
But it wasn’t a normal tomato, it was misshapen. We have a lot of deer that roam through our place and they believe that God has given them every green thing for food, whether it is ours or not. So, we place a net over the tomatoes to make us think we can protect them. And here, with snow on the ground in the Rocky Mountains, is one hardy tomato, still alive and red, ripening on the vine. But it wasn’t a pretty tomato, as we think of pretty tomatoes. It had grown up in a difficult spot, with the net obstructing its growth, deforming it. I suppose during the growing time when all the other tomatoes were still on the vine, it was the “ugly duckling”. Forgive me for making too much of a distorted tomato, but this malformed one caused me to think.
I have a tendency to not thank God for the difficulties in my life, for those things that aren’t the way I want them. Remember what Joseph said to his brothers: “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” How often does God “sculpt” us because He means it for good? If you wanted to “anthropomorphize” a piece of marble, it would think that the sculptor’s chisel was not only painful, but maybe even cruel.
I may not like physical ailments or people who are irritating or exasperating, or circumstances that arise as insurmountable obstacles, but I have to, if I am truly wanting to walk according to God’s Word, see them in the light of His promises and who He is. I have to view them in the light of His Providence and Sovereignty and Grace, and persevere. It could be that the netting I believe is trapping me, suffocating me, getting in my way… is just the Sculptor’s chisel.
This little tomato persevered and survived them all… and I’m thankful for it.
Lord, help me to stop kicking against you, complaining and grousing when things don't go my way, but instead, have a heart filled with gratitude for your gracious, loving Hands as you sculpt me into something you desire... something that is far better and grander than my weak eyes and heart can comprehend.
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. . . . Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" James 1:2-4, 12