The Sweet Orange Story
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in the Florida Panhandle to do my ministry work was the absence of orange trees and coconuts I had been so excited to see and partake of as I had done decades ago as a child visiting my grandmother in Florida. I was quickly told not to expect them in the state’s Panhandle region. What I got instead was a relatively cold, sometimes windy, other times foggy, usually cloudy, rarely sunny longer-than-I-expected winter.
Imagine my delight when winter came to a close, the sun began to shine, and a man in local ministry work told me I could have as many grapefruit and oranges off his several fruit trees as I wanted! What delight! But almost no sooner than I walked off happily with my sack of fresh Florida fruit than the Lord emphatically told me to give most of my fruit away to a woman who didn’t even like me and was in fact very unkind to me! I was to bless a woman who had decided to be my enemy with the oranges I had so craved! Off the oranges went to the woman’s delight!
Of course, all I had to do was contact the man in ministry again and ask him for more of that fabulous fruit! Oh, but how disappointed I was when I spoke with him one day and was told he was all out of oranges! So much for my sweet orange blessing after a not-so-enjoyable winter! But the Lord had other plans, you see.
Within just a couple of hours, a new friend showed up to pick something up. My eyes might as well have popped out of my head when I saw on her front passenger seat two enormous super yummy looking obviously delicious tasting oranges! She must have gone to the grocery store to buy herself a snack. Oh, what I would have given for those oranges! But I kept my mouth shut. I barely knew her.
“Do you eat oranges?” she said.
“Yes!” I exclaimed.
The next thing I knew, those two beautiful oranges had a proud, ecstatic, and happily blessed new owner. Me! And off I went with my oranges.
This isn’t just a sweet orange story. It’s a story about God. And how much He loves us. And how much He pays attention to the smallest of details in our lives. And how He knows our hearts. And how when we are willing to forsake all for Him, and sacrifice what we desire for Him and for others, and are faithful in believing in and following Jesus, He has a way of reminding us of His love for us in the beautiful ways He blesses us – right down to big juicy oranges in Florida!