The Orange Peel

(written during the summer of 2009, but so relevant to today)

I eat an orange for breakfast everyday.  Okay, so it’s really a Clementine, but most people have never heard of them.  Imagine a smaller, sweeter Satsuma.  Don’t know what that is either?  How about a smaller, sweeter tangerine?  Got it?  Good.

So today I was peeling my Clementine when I noticed something strange.  Most of the time, I can peel Clementines quite easily, leaving most of the peel intact.  This Clementine, though, was stubborn.  I had barely started peeling when part of the flesh came out.  So I started in another area.  Before long, the peel broke.  Again and again I tried to peel it, but when I was finished, the poor thing looked as though I had gashed out its flesh on purpose.

I pulled apart the Clementine to start eating it, but even then the skin broke and juice spilled out.  Almost every action I took against the Clementine hurt it in some way, whether small or great.

Know what it reminded me of?  Me.  I am the Clementine.  I cling onto the outer shell of who I’m not.  The part that no one, especially God, can use.  So when God starts pulling off the areas that I know need to be taken, I hurt.  I make it a much bigger deal than the situation has to be because I’m clinging to the things that He has deemed unnecessary.

As I pulled apart the Clementine bit by bit, I told God that I felt like the Clementine.  I felt as though God had been breaking me little by little over the past summer.  Honestly, I felt like the bits of me that He had successfully cleared of the outside skin were open for the entire world to see.  My flesh had been broken in such a severe way that it was open to all sorts of things:  the air, diseases, germs, bugs, and even people.  Where He has broken me, I am the most vulnerable.

I’m scared right now.  I’m hurting.  I wonder if God will fix the hurt areas, though I know He can.  I can’t help but think that He doesn’t have to make me feel better.  He doesn’t have to make me well again.  (Honestly, if He did cure my wounds, I’m almost certain that I would run back to the outer skin that He has already peeled off of me.)  But God is there.  He is making me useful in the ways He needs me.  He is preparing me to be so much more than just a Clementine that just sits around.  He is preparing me to be eaten.  (By the way, what happens to anything that is not eaten for any length of time?  That’s right…it rots and is good for nothing but to be cast into the fire…or put in the compost pile!)

“Patience is more than endurance. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says- “I cannot stand any more.” God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands.” Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest


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