The sweet taste of grace

We got home from our trip to Denver just in time to pick a few more raspberries. I’ve been boasting about my raspberries to anyone who will listen and handing out jars of homemade raspberry jam to anyone who will take them. I am proud of these berries, but not because of all the effort I’ve put into them. In fact, it is pecisely the opposite: I’ve done nothing but watch as these tenants of my backyard turn ordinary sun and rain into tart red berries that are as undeserved and sweet as grace itself. In some ways a single raspberry is no less a miracle than turning water into wine.

Every time we eat, we depend on a miracle that will happen underground. We can manipulate and encourage, but we cannot perform the miracle ourselves. I wonder if modern skepticism about God is not a result of living so far from the land. Food does not seem miraculous when it is always available to buy in neat colorful rows at a brightly lit store. When I pull it out of my own backyard, I am humbled to realize how much depends on a seed, the rain, and the sun… and the faithfulness of my creator. G.K. Chesterton reminds us that the laws of nature themselves are miracles more than they are certainties. A law is a simple observations of the way things have always worked and “though we can count on it happening practically, we have no right to say that it must always happen.” Chesterton says that we don’t merely depend on the laws of nature, we bet on them. We take a gamble with every seed we plant, sowing our seeds in the faith that the rain and the sun will be provided. Ask a farmer if those ingredients (in their proper proportion) are always supplied without interruption. We have a friend who grew up on a wheat farm who can tell you stories about half a dozen different ways a year’s crop could be destroyed.

And so I brag about my raspberries and show them off to my daughters who delight in the goodness to their hearts’ content. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!

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