That blackberry

That blackberry
Photo Credit to Hasan Jasim

A Blackberry

My friend sent me a picture of the life cycle of a blackberry. It starts with a bud and around the circle it goes until it ends with huge juicy fruit. My eyes were immediately drawn to the part of the cycle right after the lovely petals have withered or dropped. The “blackberry” looked nothing like a blackberry. It was a small, hard, greenish-brown ball with broken parts of flower still haloing it. It looked like nothing, really. Certainly not beautiful. It looked barren. And my heart twisted, immediately assigning feelings and empathizing with this fuzzy green pod. That’s where I feel I am right now. Packed up, moved out, and shedding everything lovely. We’re waiting to hear if the house we are supposed to rent will be finished and available in time. Our stuff — everything I need to make a home — is all packed away in a gray pod. A storage pod.

We just don’t know what will happen.

But we know it will.

That’s the hope of being a seed. You know you will grow because your Maker made you to grow.

It made me think of all the “barren pod” times that people in Scripture went through — Sarah for sure, but also Esther as she put on her lovely clothes to enter the king’s presence uninvited. “If I die, I die.” I’m sure that walking through the palace felt like a death march. Breathing, but walking to her death. Moving, but as if through sand. Trusting, but not knowing the outcome.

Or what about Elijah after he had built his altar, cut up his sacrifice, dug his moat, and drenched it in water? It doesn’t say anyone helped him until the water part. Hundreds of them, looking on as he heaved and sweated and worked. How did that feel? He knew that if nothing happened, he would be executed as a false prophet.

In that same place of pressure and faith, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego looked at the king and said, “Our God can deliver us. But even if He doesn’t, we will not bow.” (Paraphrased from Daniel 3:17-18).

All of us will eventually enter that place of emptiness, pressure, and faith if we’re following Jesus. The place where there is nothing to show for our work. Nothing to prove that God will come through. Nothing but our faith in Him — and our Maker made us to grow, so we should. Right?

A heart fearfully serving and striving and exchanging works for results will cave right there in the brown pod phase. But we have found Him beautiful, haven’t we sisters? He’s our Lord and He’s good and wise and tender. He takes our aching hearts “and pours in oil and wine” and soothes all our dry places. He’s loved us so well, so long, and so thoroughly, we can’t help but echo their words, “My God is able to deliver me. But even if He doesn’t, I will not bow” to anything. Because I’m not picking my god. I already found Him.

And that’s the quiet faith He longs for. “This is so hard, Lord. But I receive it because I love you so much.”

He’s brought us through so many hard times. The “lions and bears” we’ve fought and overcome with Him are too many to deny. He will save us. And likely through the fire. We will drop our petals and look like a brown pod and really have nothing to show for all of it.


He’s worth it. Even in this place. He’s worth it. And through it, the dry or the burning or the barren or whatever He calls us into, He will be the “fourth one in the fire.” And He promises that eventually, the fruit will start to show. This season won’t be forever. The patience we are learning here, the thriving in the midst of the desert, it will all give way to what He planned. Peaceable fruit of righteousness will be the result.

But the fruit is secondary. We already got our prize back in the barren place — it’s Him.

(Update: I wrote this before we knew we wouldn’t get our rental in July. The contract fell through because repairs were not finished, so we had to find another one. Praise the Lord we did, and we’ll be moving in August 1. It is truly so much better - and more than we asked for!)