Look around. Do you see them? They’re everywhere! Inside and outside. High and low. You just have to be alert and watch for them. They can pop up in the funniest places.
I’m talking about object lessons. Even the most mundane items have the ability to teach. Just ask my kids. Poor things grew up hearing life applications for everything! But I think all three turned out great, so I guess it didn’t hurt them after all!
Today pepper teaches the lesson. Curious yet? Let me tell you a few things I’ve learned about pepper first.
I like using a whole peppercorn melange. Not only do I enjoy the taste, but I love the colors. I sorta feel like a gourmet chef when I grind it out. It certainly looks fancier than plain black pepper, doesn’t it?
(And, plain pepper wouldn’t have provided this post. Wouldn’t that be a shame? 😉)
Until several years ago, I didn’t even know what a pepper melange was. And in case you’re wondering like I was, it’s a blend of peppers: black, white, pink, and green peppercorns with the addition of a bit of Jamaican allspice. Each provides a uniqueness to the overall blend.
Black pepper is picked when the plant is nearly ripe. Then, it is roasted or dried in its hull until it turns black. The black pepper gives the pungent aroma to the blend.
The white pepper comes from the same plant and undergoes the same process, but its hull is removed during a cleansing process before roasting. White pepper gives heat to the blend but is not as strong as the black pepper.
Green peppercorns are actually unripe black peppercorns. They break down quickly and are used for their fresh taste in a melange.
Pink (or red) peppers are actually Peruvian berries from pepper trees. They add both sweetness and color to the blend.
Finally, the allspice blends its earthy flavor with the peppers to complete the spicy, pungent, piney, fruity, sweet effect of the melange.
So what? How does all of this information apply to you and me?
Just this: life is a blend. It’s an incredible mixture of sweetness, fire, spice, freshness, bitterness, and pungent experiences and relationships. Each serves a vital purpose in forming us into who God intended.
I understand there are people and situations we’d love to avoid. It seems life would be easier without them. But God knows best. (He always does!)
This past week, Jon and I took off for northeast Ohio to visit our kids and grandkids. We left Wednesday night and went up the road a couple hours. Thursday morning, since we were coming from a slightly different area, we asked my phone for assistance. What a disaster! Every time we thought we were approaching the right highway, Siri directed us elsewhere. It was taking us forever. Since my husband has directional savvy, I finally turned off the electronic directions and let him feel his way.
We made it. Finally. At dinner that evening, I related our frustration with not being able to find our way to their house. Our son snatched up my phone and fairly quickly found the problem: my gps had been set to avoid highways.
The lesson? Don’t dictate what you want to avoid in life. It causes frustration. Let God do the directing without putting parameters on what He allows. Let Him sprinkle in the green, the black, the pink, and the white.
God knows exactly what we need to both endure and embrace in life. The fiery trials can teach us patience. Fresh green changes test our faith. Bitter experiences develop our compassion. Sweet relationships teach us the joy of loving and being loved. The list is endless. But it all comes through His hands before it reaches us. He measures it out perfectly. The easy and the difficult.
Truly, the variety of relationships and realities He sprinkles into our lives helps balance us. They grow us. They mature us. They enlarge our testimony and ministries.
We need God on more levels than we realize. He knows that much better than we do. So He purposely puts us into situations to reveal us to ourselves. In doing so, He lets us see how much we need Him.
God also uses the various circumstances in our lives to portray to those who do not know Christ that He is strong enough for us in every circumstance. God’s goodness can be seen in every gain and every loss. In every joy and every hurt. He means it all for good.
We all have ideal scenarios in our minds as to how things should play out in life. But we cannot see the bigger picture. Our natural tendency is to fight and despise the less than pleasant additions He allows.
However, we must learn, by faith in His goodness and wisdom, to permit His perfect seasoning with the blends and measurements He sees fit to use. He’s making us palatable for His good purpose. I believe we can trust His recipes. He’s truly the Master Chef!
“We know that ALL things work together for good to them that love Him, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28