The Bible tells us that God’s mercy is new every morning. “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:23). Enjoy this illustration, written by Brenda Craig.
God’s Mercy - Blackberries, Thorns, and Sweet Cream
A couple of days ago, in the early morning light of a misty, rainy day, I stood with amazed elation in the midst of my small raised garden. I felt like Jack in the Beanstalk had been at work. No, there was no golden egg, but. . .
Reserved at one time for only tomatoes, one corner now gave way to a sprawling blackberry bush -- a thornless blackberry bush. Observing it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Almost overnight it was teaming with blooms and red berries reaching upward, imploring the sun to shine as leaves fell heavy with cascading droplets of water . . . falling in rivulets to the ground, saturating the roots below. Ah . . . rain and sun dancing together.
Right in the middle stood three lone ripe berries, plump and beautiful, calling out my name. Ever so tenderly, I plucked them. The two years of waiting was worth it as my mouth salivated in anticipation, but I waited. The four day, unheard of ice storm, which gave them much needed cold weather, was worth it . . . but I waited.
Yes, I waited for my husband to come and join me in the hot tub for our usual Saturday morning of soaking, sipping coffee and praying. I waited to show him my prize possessions.
Before he could even get in the hot tub, my words overflowed my patience and came tumbling out, “Look, look what I found,” holding my treasured blackberries up for him to see. His dubious look should have warned me, but my elation was too great to notice.
“B,” he said “All the work and space . . . how many blackberries do you think you will get, a pint? Is it worth it? It takes up so much of your garden? Couldn’t you just buy some at the grocery store?”
Obviously he doesn’t have the fondness for the plump purple berries I do. And this became very evident when I let him have one. He promptly frowned with skepticism and put it in his mouth. With a look of disgust on his face, which spoke volumes, he chewed fast and took a big gulp.
“Ugh, B, How nasty and bitter can you get? You like these things?”
Popping mine in my mouth, expecting bitterness, I found a delicious sweetness well worth all my anticipation.
Smilingly I chided him, “Guess you got the wrong one.”
“I doubt it. Where’s my coffee? I need to get this taste out of my mouth.”
Blackberries forgotten, conversation changed, the day proceeded on . . .
God’s Mercy – Days Later
Several days later on the way to feed my chickens I glanced over to find an abundance of deep purple coloring one corner of my garden. I dropped everything, flung open the gate, and with cupped hand began to pick my feast.
With eyes closed, and sweet juice filling my senses God whispered,
“Look at your bush more closely and see what I see. Every morning you come here and the new berries that are ripened are like My mercy, new every morning. You can’t go to the store and buy mercy; it simply grows out of relationship with Me. It is a gift.
There are no thorns on your blackberry bush for you My love because I already wore them in your place. And like the juice running down your fingertips, blood ran down My face, down the cross and paid the price for new mercies . . . And now, like berries submersed in sweet cream and sugar you are submerged in Me.
As you reach into the bush, know you can reach your hand into Me, into My word. And because I bore the thorns, you can receive My sweet cream of mercy every moment of your life. I am the ultimate sweetener. As for the sometimes bitter berries, well, they often represent things in your life needing a little more rain, a little more time in the Son. And sometimes My mercy doesn’t seem sweet to you, displaying itself in unusual and sometimes hard ways. However, like the berries needed the cold, you need seasons of winter to bring about proper growth. This is where trust comes in. Trust Me always for I have plans for good and not evil. You are the joy of My heart.
As my mercy and goodness ripen in your heart you will be like a sprawling, thornless blackberry bush, full of blooms and fruit in all stages of ripeness. And when others reach into your life to eat from your abundance, they will not be pricked, nor find bitter fruit, for you have been, are being, and will be transformed. I give you abundant joy. I pour over you showers of rain and Sonshine today. Enjoy, be fruitful, and multiply!”
With tears of gratefulness and love streaming down my face, I looked over at my thorny raspberry bush. As one lone red berry peeked out from under its skirt, I wondered what “God Whispers” were being picked up by the breeze of His presence to be whispered another day.