Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm A Nut

Cashew Tree - Trinidad, West Indies, July 2006

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking,
be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:31-32

My son, Griff loves cashews. After work last night, he stopped by the grocery store to purchase something I needed in order to cook dinner. He came home with my item, minced garlic, and spent his own money on a can of cashews. He must really be fond of them to spend HIS money, huh? He remarked that he didn't know why they were so expensive as he popped the can and munched on a few before hiding the can from other nut lovers.
After nibbling on a few of the pricey nuts myself, I reminded him that we had seen cashew trees when we visited the tropical garden of Bunty & Rory O’Connor in Trinidad in July 2006. We learned that cashews are native to the Americas, but widely cultivated in India and Africa since the 16th century. You never see cashews for sale in the shell because between the outer and inner shells covering the nut is an extremely caustic oil. The outer shell must be roasted or burned off with the oil (the smoke is also an irritant). The kernels are then boiled or roasted again, and a second shell is removed. Hence, the reason for the pricey little nuts.
Now you may be thinking, that's interesting, but why are you writing about cashews today? I tell you the Lord dealt with me last night through a little can of cashews. No kidding! Before Griff brought home the can of cashews I had been having a little pity party and I discovered that I have some hurt within me that I thought I had dealt with years ago. There was a person in my life that I completely respected and loved. This person didn't like me. I was ridiculed by this person. I was ignored by this person. I was deeply hurt by this person no matter how I tried to offer my love and affection. I built up a protective layer when I was around this person. I tried to hide my pain, but I became bitter and angry at this person and the people she showed love to. I desperately wanted her to like me.

When I thought about those cashews and the process they go through before they are of any value, I realized that I am a lot like the cashew nut. Just like the caustic shell surrounding the cashew, I must allow God to reach in and remove the layers of hurt, bitterness, burning away the impurities of my soul. It is not an easy process. Very painful and costly to allow this shell, these layers to be burned away. But if I want God to use me for His glory, I must trust Him. Lord, help me to view my past suffering as preparation for ministry as the apostle Paul did.
Read Philippians 1:12-26

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