Hidden Rewards

Fruits of the wildernessSometimes life sucks.  I wish I could dress it up somehow, but the truth is, I can’t.  I recall times in my life that were so hard,  I thought nothing good could ever come of them.  Perhaps you can identify?  Maybe you even feel like that right now…

The other day I was driving along in Kruger, and suddenly the tree in today’s image caught my eye.  It looks like just a bunch of dry twigs on a dead tree trunk… there aren’t even any leaves on that skinny tree’s carcass.  But wait! There is more (like a good, but grammatically poor, insurance ad)! If you look closely you’ll see that there is a single round fruit hanging in the upper reaches of the apparently dead tree.

That single fruit was such a surprise in that scene of winter and drought.   Yet, there is was – a promise that in every wilderness situation, there is hope – reward for perseverance.  I was so interested in this fruit, I researched it a bit more and was even more surprised by what I discovered.

From the tree Strychnos Spinosa (from the Strychnine family) – colloquially known as the monkey orange, this fruit only appears after good rains, typically between September and February.  Perfectly plausible… except that we are in the clutches of a ruthless drought (and this was taken in July!).

A confused tree?  Maybe, but I choose to believe that tree knows something I don’t.  I see that fruit as a promise of reward that is on its way  – of rain and relief from a killer drought.  More than that, this single fruit would have been a happy surprise for the persevering antelope that didn’t give up, and that chose to look up when things looked hopeless.

Be encouraged.  There is reward growing inside your wilderness right now.  Don’t give up!  You’ll see the fruit soon, and you’ll likely see it a lot clearer in the sparse landscape of the winter wilderness, than you ever would have had it been hidden in the lush plenitude of summer.

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