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Papa, Why Are You Putting Bugs in the Pickles?

Gale and I never know what kind of questions we will be approached with with all the girls we have in and out of our house.  Some of the most interesting ones come from the youngest of the bunch—Raegan.  As she experiences so many new things in life, she has questions and she asks them.  One of the most recent ones came up a few days ago as Gale and I were making cucumber pickles.  Raegan watched intently as we poured the hot liquid consisting of sugar, vinegar, and various spices into the jars filled with cucumbers (she always refers to cucumbers as pickles—even when they’re still on the vines).  As she looked at what I was doing, she popped the unexpected question:  “Papa, why are you putting bugs in there?”  No need to be alarmed—you can be sure that Miss Gale had washed the cucumbers thoroughly so there was no chance for bugs in her pickles.  What Raegan was seeing was seeds in the mixture of spices—but she thought it was bugs! 

It is amazing how much a God-created mind develops in the first two and a half years of life

When we grow older, we still have our questions.  Those questions are often not as simple as explaining to a little girl that what she was seeing was not bugs but something that would make pickles taste good.  Our questions are sometimes related to the inequalities of life and questions about suffering and loss.  Our questions often have to do with the unfairness that we sense after we have tried to do the right things in life, yet those who have no care about righteousness appear to be getting the better deal in life—at least at the moment.  Such times lend to great disappointment.  It is then that we must remind ourselves that we only see small portions of the picture of life and all the pieces may not appear to fit together, while God sees the whole picture and He has a plan that will ultimately turn out just right. 

Many years ago as I went through the most challenging time I had ever faced, I had some questions.  In the midst of fear and uncertainty as I dealt with something that I knew would have a deep and lasting impact on my life, I had to deal with the simple yet heart-wrenching question that only has two words:  Why me?  In the midst of it all, a bit of Scripture that brought assurance in the midst of the storm was Psalm 73.  As the writer grappled with the dilemma of why the righteous suffer while the wicked appear to have it made, he described them with these words:  “This is what the wicked are like—always carefree, they increase in wealth” (verse 12, New International Version).  And concerning himself—even though he had sought to live righteously– he described his feelings of having received the short end of the stick:  “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence” (verse 13).

As Psalm 73 continues to unfold, the writer comes to the realization that no matter how bad things looked, in the end it would be alright for the child of God.  When he got into God’s presence, the scene started to clear up, and he realized that it really was worth it to follow God:  “But as for me, it is good to be near God.  I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds” (verse 28).

If we remain faithful to Him, someday we will be able to look back and better understand what He was doing to bring about something good even though it looked so terrible to us at the moment.  Some things we will not understand until we enter into Heaven for eternity, but until then we can rest assured that He is trustworthy  And perhaps we will then realize that what we thought was bugs in the pickles was really what was needed to produce something good.