Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Rotten Apples.

My friend Priscilla and I were recently talking about I book I had been reading (mentioned here) which in turn sparked a conversation about the book "If I Perish" by Esther Ahn Kim. Knowing my love for books and my great interest in biographies, Priscilla lent it to me and I promptly sat down that afternoon to read it. By the time I put it down, I was stirred by this lady's faith! I won't ruin the whole book for you :o), but one story is just too good to keep to myself...

One day, after being in prison for a few years, Esther had a craving for apples. By this point, she was physically weak and had almost no strength remaining in her body, but she desperately wanted an apple and so prayed to the God who fed the 5,000 with just two fish and five loaves and asked for an apple. Soon she heard two jailers talking about the abundance of apples, but one jailer said the apples were all rotten. Hearing that, Esther got excited and asked the jailer for the apples. The jailer was incredulous. "Why do you want apples?" Esther explained that since their prison food was so bad, rotten apples would be much, much better than what they were eating. So the jailer got the rotten apples and gave them to Esther. The hard apples, warmed by spring, were so soft and yielded sweet juice. After devouring apples for several days, Esther began to recover physically. (In her own words): "I explained to my fellow prisoners why God gave me soggy apples instead of firm, smooth ones. Because my teeth were weak, I wouldn't have been able to bite into a firm apple. God gave me fifty apples instead of just one because my dehydrated body needed many soggy apples rather than one fresh apple which I could not have chewed."

God knew what Esther needed: rotten apples. Rotten apples wouldn't be the first dining choice for many, but it was what she needed at the time. Wow!

My "rotten apple" could be paralleled to my season of life right now. As I see friends around me get married and have children, I sometimes think, "God, what about me? Is there someone for me?" His answer comes back oh so sweetly: "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."

Esther Ahn Kim prayed for one apple, and God answered her with 50 rotten apples. The fresh, crisp, red apple was the fruit of her choice, but God said, "Oh no, my child. I know that you wouldn't be able to handle that. But I'm going to give you something even better. You might not appreciate it at first, but in the end you will thank ME. Here, take these 50 rotten apples. Let them nourish you physically. Let it be a very real answer to your prayer. Let your spirit joyfully shout to Me in thanksgiving. My plan is best."

On my graduation day from high school, my dear, sweet friend wrote me an encouraging card. In it she said, "Anne, use this season of singleness to serve the Lord completely. I wish someone had told me this when I graduated. How many years I wasted." I received many cards that day, but out of dozens of cards with words of wisdom and advice, hers was the one I remember to this day.

My choice? A fresh, crisp, red apple. God's choice? Rotten apples. It's what I need right now!

"Wait for God's time to bring it round and He will do it without any heartbreak or disappointment."

~Oswald Chambers~


Abbi said...

Oh Anne! What a tremendous post!

One day you WILL look back to this "soggy apple" stage and be thankful for it! It is shaping who you are and making you ready for marriage and motherhood. I know you already know this, but I thought I would share my perspective from the "other side of the apple basket"...the wait is worth it. And you are doing the right thing by keeping your eyes on Christ and serving Him whole-heartedly!

We are praying for you and that God would, in His time, bring along the right man for Miss Anne! :)

Have a great day!

lizzykristine said...

Great post!

It reminds me of a story about bananas that Bruce Olson tells in Bruchko. If you haven't read Bruchko, it is another missionary biography not to be missed -- tremendous!

Did you post on what exactly you'll be doing in Thailand? Sorry if I missed it somewhere.

I spent two summers of 9 weeks each on missions trips before I went to Ireland for two years -- you will so love it! I found the longer trip was a more realistic experience, with a lot more "downs" than a short trip generally has, so it definitely deepens your walk. I'm excited for you!

Andrea said...

Amen, Anne. I appreciated that! I've read that book, and have thought often of that story - I haven't made that application, though! This time of singleness truly is precious - may God give us the grace to value it for the gift it is!