Gen:13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. (NIV)
Years and years ago my father told me that if he ever wrote a book he would call it, “To Catch a Rainbow”. He didn’t write, but he knew I was an avid writer and although he never said it aloud, I believe he wanted me to write that book for him. It was an off the cuff kind of conversation that you have in passing but one that has stayed with me all these years. Perhaps he understood the biblical implication of the title, I didn’t at the time. Each time I’ve sat down to write that title has been in the back of my mind but a story never came. Today it did – in the shower of course. These stories, this journey, is for my Father – first my Heavenly Father in Heaven and for my earthly father whom, I pray, will also be waiting for me in heaven.
Matt7: 13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (NIV)
So many people and even Churches say there are many roads to God – but the Bible clearly states that there is but a single narrow road leading to life. I believe that there are many roads to Jesus, like estuaries of a mighty river, but only Jesus leads you to eternal life – His is the narrow path. I say this because each and every one of us has our own story to tell about how we reached the point in our lives where we surrendered to Him, where we shed the old man and put on the new and put all our faith that God did indeed sacrifice His only begotten Son for our sakes. I know the humbling moment in time when as an adult I gave my life to Him. I am fairly certain that had not been for the many misadventures down dark roads of my previous life I would not have understood the significance of the narrow gate.
I’ve read and heard many heart wrenching testimonies of people turning their lives to God, and it started me to wonder how my personal story measures up. I know that’s not exactly a biblical way to think, but I am human. I try my best to banish thoughts like that but at church we’re taught you can know the truth by the fruit and I would guess that many other Christians have the same wonderings as me – how does my fruit measure up? I know that some of my personal fruit is the past, not the actions of what I did but what I did despite those actions and even more importantly – how God protected me anyway and then forgave me.
I find it interesting that the Bible refers to it as fruit, a tree takes several years before it reaches the point that it can even bear fruit a most extreme example is the carab tree it takes a whopping 70 years of growing before it can bear fruit! And then it takes some, like the apple, two almost three seasons before the fruit is ripe enough to pick and be judged good, or not. To complicate matters further – how often have you picked up a red shiny apply at the grocers eagerly anticipating biting into the crisp fruit only to find it mealy and tasteless? Scientists say that it is because of human engineering that we have ended up with beautiful big red shiny apples that taste like mealy cardboard. When farmers realized that the bigger and redder fruits sold better at the stores they began cultivating that kind of tree, what they didn’t bargain for was although the fruit looked nicer, it was actually inferior. I think God might be reminding us that it isn’t always the biggest or the shiniest fruit that is the good fruit. Personally, I’ve always preferred a Granny Smith or cooking apple – long before they were popular in the stores. I can remember buying a small green apple at an open air market and the gentleman giving me dire warnings. It’s too sour to eat, it isn’t meant for just eating – you’re supposed to cook with it – you will get a stomach ache. But, it didn’t stop him from selling it to me, after attempting to make me feel foolish for choosing it over the bright shiny red ones right next to it. It was tart, juicy and the best apple I had ever eaten, and still the best apple I’ve ever eaten. I also remember my sister and the two boys (whose mother we were with) each buying one after I had eaten mine. If I remember correctly, they tried mine before spending their own money.
I believe for many of us, our season to grow is in our childhood and misspent youth and some, like the carab tree, may take almost a lifetime. In that time we are growing our branches and roots, eventually we flower and the seasons to ripen our fruits begin. I also think there are spring storms that ravage our blooms and those seasons we are fruitless. But, mercifully God grants us many chances to grow, to bloom and to fruit. I wonder, how does our first fruit, or lack of, impact our Christian walk? Why is that for some, it is the seemingly bad fruit of the past that is in actuality the good fruit of their future? My own, very personal path to Jesus was filled with bad decisions and missteps that bore toxic fruit, and yet it was the harvest of that fruit, the inevitable consequences of my misdeeds that brought me to my knees and I cried not just for help, but for salvation and peace. Knowingly, I entered into God’s covenant and caught the illusive rainbow.