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When you survive winter eight months of the year, the fruits of summer are very, very sweet. Whether it’s glorious, heavy bushels to the acre, or the smaller triumph of carefully tended gardens, we’re quietly reveling in the bounty. It’s lovely to enjoy the best of the best in its peak moment. I say with the prophet…”My soul hath desired the first-ripe fruit” (Micah 7:1).

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but with the extortionate price of food these days, the only way to beat the budget is by buying prime fruits in bulk. (Unless you’ve just robbed a bank, forget the fruit truck). Mangos, peaches, cherries or pears by the case can be significantly cheaper – but it’s a crap shoot. These delectables may tempt, but, sadly, a large percentage are plucked ridiculously early and never ripen properly. Even when they look ready, they taste disappointingly woody or mealy. Remember the outrage when what took forever to ripen was actually already rotting on the inside? Keep a close watch if you don’t want to miss the instant of their perfected prime.

But miracles still happen. This year, Mom and I enjoyed not one, not two, but three cases of different, absolutely flawless fruit. Mangos, peaches, and even avocados ripened in such marvelous timing that we could enjoy one a day without having to gorge ourselves or jump through hoops to preserve the vintage. I recall the moment of deliberating the tenderness of peaches and coming to the conclusion that the time to move for freezing was now. Even though they weren’t necessarily soft, or the coloration darkened, the way the skin was puckering slightly convinced me they were prime. I was right. Cut open, the delicious juiciness oozed out, sweet and firm and easy to handle.

All of this fruit finagling had me thinking about how to judge when moments in life are truly ready. If you think it’s hard to judge peaches, try transferring that to people or the apex of opportunity. Character is one of those imperceptibly morphing substances seen only by time-lapse photography of the Spirit. Maturity is somewhat intangible, even elusive. You really have to be on the bit spiritually to recognize the moment of the Lord’s favor, when all the stars are aligning, and the time of exploit has come.

It’s interesting that, when we consider ripeness, it depends what yield we are judging. For example, most fruit is ripe when it is soft and juicy, but grain is ripe when it becomes utterly desiccated. When minimum moisture remains, the harvest is ready. We don’t usually consider ripeness by an index of deadness, but it some cases, it is.

For months now, we’ve basically been in famine conditions as pestilence rages upon us. Things have been drying out in the Spirit realm with staggering heat and speed. What can be shaken has been shaken. Any moisture not coming out of the wells of salvation has suffered severe evaporation. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but the earth is experiencing a ripening of some form. We have come to places of judgement and justice.

And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. Revelation 14:15-16

These days, we’re finding out how much so-called faith in the North American Church is desperately unripe. Lots of it is green as grass, immature and undeveloped even though carefully wrapped in tradition and packaged with denominationalism for decades. We’re finding out who really believes; who knows the word of power and how to use it. Is God more real to us than Covid? Can we trust Scripture more than CNN? Where do we draw the line between actively living the Gospel and taking care of our own skins?

As we close in on the Fall, I perceive 2020 ripening with staggering speed. Like these precious last dog-days of summer, keep your eye on the minutes, because we’re closing fast. This crisis has revealed any number of highly important things, not the least of which is what will ripen and what will rot. Faith and patience, power twins of the Gospel, are still going strong. The full anointings of the year, so far swallowed up by Covid, have yet to come forth. Wait for it! God will fulfill all promises in glorious vintage.

“The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matt 9:36-38 NKJV

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