I was delighted to find celeriac in the local farmer’s market this morning. This strange-looking root vegetable, also called turnip-rooted celery, knob celery, and sometimes celery root, is a variety of celery cultivated for its edible roots, hypocotyl, and shoots.
As the primary cook for someone who has a potato intolerance, I am most interested in it for the fact that it makes a wonderful substitution for potatoes. You can chop it and cook it for potato salad, you can throw it into soup instead of chunks of potato, you can grate it and fry it up like hashbrowns, and when you aren’t trying to use it to substitute for potato, you can grate it and eat it as a salad.
The only problem is, celeriac isn’t available in our neck of the woods year round, hence my excitement to find it this morning. The problem was, the vendor was selling it with its greens attached. I had never seen it sold that way before, and all I could think of was how much room in my garbage that top would take up. This is what motivated me to tell the vendor that I didn’t need the greens.
“But that’s the best part!” she argued, pinching off a leaf and holding it out for me to smell. “See what a nice aroma it has?”
Sure enough, it smelled strongly of celery. Intrigued, I asked how to use it.
“You chop it up and throw it into your soup,” she responded. “You can freeze it, too, and whenever you need to celery in a recipe, you can throw it in.”
Once home, I washed the greens and chopped them, and then I put them in a freezer bag for later use, and as I did, I couldn’t help but think that I had come very close to leaving behind “the best part” of the celeriac!
In the rehab hospital where I work, one of the more common statements I hear about God is this: “I don’t believe in God, because if God really existed, I wouldn’t be here in the hospital!”
The whole incident with the celeriac greens made me think about this. You see, we want all the good things that God has to offer us, but we really don’t care for the bad. I mean, after all, why would a loving God allow so much suffering?
But when we only buy into God for the good things, are we, perhaps, throwing away “the best part”?
But wait. How can suffering be “the best part”?
I don’t pretend to have all the answers to this, but I do know that we see only a very tiny part of the picture of life. In our limited line of vision, there isn’t room for suffering, and it seems impossible to think that anything good could actually come out of it. What if we, even for just a moment, considered the fact that some of the suffering we must face actually works for the good? A death in the family, for example, may be the only thing that will ever bring a non-believing family member to the place where they realize they need the Lord. Debilitating handicaps may be the only way God can help us to understand how much we need Him, how rich our lives can be if we rely solely on Him. Serious debt and lose of job may be the only way God can help us to understand that He is our provision. All the time.
Hasn’t God promised to work everything out for the good? Prayerfully consider this text: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
The question is, do we trust God enough to recognize that hardships are times to grow, that they are not to be wished away? Can we trust Him enough to understand that all things work together for good? Can we blindly follow where He leads, even if it means a brief trip through the valley of suffering? Can we come to realize that without the suffering that God permits in this life, it is like we are throwing out “the best part”?
I challenge each of you today to surrender yourselves completely to God’s will, even if it means a trip through the valley of suffering, ever knowing that God will ALWAYS provide a way of escape (See 1 Cor. 10:13). When you do, you will find that you are indeed, enjoying “the best part”.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.