Gardening and preserving food at home have its advantages. For one, you know exactly what’s in your food and don’t have to worry about ingesting bugs, creature parts or other less-than-desirable items found in manufactured produce.
We’ve never grown Brussels sprouts in our garden until this year; my husband and I figured we’d venture into the realm of the unknown by adding turnips, Brussels sprouts, and a few extra delicacies we both enjoy. Although the little heads look like little cabbages, their stalks are incredibly unique. In fact, I feel quite safe in saying that no two stalks are identical. And the little heads … well, each one is as distinctive as a thumbprint. Such an imagination our Creator has!
My husband harvested our first batch of home-grown Brussels sprouts. I couldn’t have been more excited to bring those little perfectly formed gems into my kitchen and being the preserving process. New challenges lie ahead.
I carefully sorted through the box, washing each sprout, trimming the outside leaves and core, placing it in a bowl of salt water. Oh, I could just taste them … cooked just right with butter and a dash of salt. My mouth was watering. As I began to peel back the outside leaves, much to my amazement, little crawly things were indiscriminately tucked away in the lush green leafy sprouts. I gasped!
How could such perfectly-formed delicate sprouts provide forbidden amnesty to such creepy crawlies? From our garden, no less! My imagination went wild. How could I be sure I found all the squigglies? How could they have gone undetected all these weeks while we watched the stalks grow and the little buds form under their leaves?
I began to pick through the sprouts dancing around in the heavily salted water. The crawly things began to squiggle and loosen their grip on MY sprouts. It took a leap of faith, but I finally decided I’d found them all and went on to prepare the sprouts for blanching and freezing while keeping a watchful eye out for those undesirables.
All the while, I’m wondering if the Lord didn’t have a lesson in here for me. Of course, I should have known that every natural circumstance has the potential to provide a powerful spiritual lesson, so I began to consider worms and sprouts although the picture in my mind’s eye wasn’t very pretty.
Let’s begin with the stalk of the Brussels sprout. It’s tall and its leaves spread out as far as they can reach, providing opportunity for their offspring to grow in a safe and healthy environment. There are no two stalks alike, unique in every way except for the fact that Brussels sprouts beget Brussels sprouts. Well, maybe with a few creepy crawlies included, but at least they begin pure.
Just as the stalks of the Brussels sprouts are unique, God created each one of us unique, formed for a purpose—to bring praise to the Creator who is, above all, worthy.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:14 KJV).
But, also like small, tender Brussels sprouts which began pure as the driven snow, we tend to have undesirables tucked away in the recesses of our hearts where no one can see them. The Master Inspector, however, is totally aware of their presence. Because he loves us even more than my husband and I love Brussels sprouts, He carefully picks us up and begins to peel away the outer layers exposing the innermost man. He cuts off the hard core—the hardened heart and turns it into a heart of flesh, tender and compassionate, just like His.
The process goes on as He continues His work by seasoning us with salt … not just to preserve us, but to rid us of undesirable behavior and tendencies hidden in our hearts. As the salt is applied, those crawlies behind the surface begin to loosen their grip and separate themselves from our lives. The Master Preserver then takes us and purifies us even more by subjecting us to the fire, stopping the growth of those things which had previously so easily beset us.
“For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt” (Mark 9:49 KJV).
Carefully, we are put through the processor and prepared for eternity. While my Brussels sprouts will only last up to a year in the freezer, the Master Preserver seals us unto the day of redemption.
“…and grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30 KJV).
Who would have thought such a lesson could be found while preparing Brussels sprouts for freezing? While I’m still not thrilled about the worms in those leafy green gems, I’m thankful that they served a purpose by revealing yet another way the Lord speaks to us through His creation.
Thankfully, because Immanuel, God With Us, came to earth, anointed by the Spirit of God “that [we] might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD” (Isaiah 61:3 KJV), He will be continue to be glorified as the cleansing and purifying process continues in each of our lives until the Harvest.
Father, I’m so thankful you allow us to see the “worms” hidden away deep in the recesses of our hearts so we can deal with them. Admittedly, it’s not always easy—it would be so much easier to think we don’t need to be subjected to the purifying process. But, Lord, I give You my heart once again and ask You to reveal to me those things which will corrupt my heart. Purify me, Lord, and cleanse me with the Word of God and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Be glorified in me and through me until the day You call me home. In Jesus’ name, amen.
I’ll certainly pay more attention to worms in the future … how about you?
© Jan Ross
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