My parents went to British Columbia this summer for a vacation. They came back with three cases of beautiful Okanagan Peaches.
Drippy, sweet, stickiness dribbled down the chins of my kids as they bit into the luscious fruit. Slurping sounds and low groans indicated that this was pretty close to heaven on earth.
My mom asked my sister-in-law and me to help put them up for the winter. And of course, we said yes. While all seven kids played at our house, the women got going on canning peaches at mom’s house.
I’ve always been amazed at the blanching process for peaches (and other fruit). It seems almost torturous for those beautiful pieces of fruit to be subjected to such extremes.
Blanching peaches has a few vital steps. First you bring a pot of water to a boil. Close beside you need to have ice cold water in a large bowl. You carefully place a few peaches into the boiling water for a few seconds, then with a slotted spoon lift them out and quickly place them into the ice cold water. As soon as the fruit is cool enough to touch the fuzzy skins will come right off… a small slit and gentle tug and the skin will slide off leaving a beautiful, firm peach ready for use or serving.
It is so much easier than peeling those slippery spheres with a knife or peeler. And much, much faster, too! Using a knife leave marks, gouges and cuts in the fruit that make it look less appealing. It loses its round smooth shape and becomes more angular and far less appetizing.
The peach blanching process brought up some spiritual parallels: I’m surprised sometimes at how often I would rather settle for the slow peeler in my life rather than the blanching method. My rough exterior, my harsh words, my clumsy attempts at ‘being good’ must leave a film of distaste in my Creator’s mouth, much like peach fuzz gives a funny feeling in mine. Sure, it might look okay some days, but you have to pierce through that tough skin to get to the sweetness of what’s inside.
God offers to remove my hard shell. He can dip me into the boiling water of His discipline and instruction, then scoop me out and place me into the ice cold bath of His holiness. Not exactly a comfortable process. But when He does this I become much more usable, beautiful and ready to serve.
I often ask myself – and I challenge you to ask the same thing – Am I surrendering to God, allowing Him to ‘blanch’ me so that I can become what He desires for me? Or am I stubbornly attempting to slice off pieces of my hard heart by myself, leaving gouges, bruises and cuts that detract from my beauty and render me unusable?
Oh God, no matter what the situation, no matter what the circumstance, I surrender to your discipline and molding of my heart so that, like a blanched peach, I might be beautiful and usable in Your Kingdom. Amen.