A few weeks ago, I collected some chestnuts. They were ones that had fallen to the ground prematurely and were still in their green, prickly burl or shell. Initially I thought I would use shellac to preserve them. That did not work though. The shells still turned brown and the chestnut within, which was not yet fully developed, shrunk so that it rattles inside upon shaking the shell.
I went back to the same spot more recently and there was a windfall of fully developed beautiful, smooth, brown chestnuts on the grass all around these two chestnut trees. In addition, there were some green, prickly shells, bigger than the ones I had picked earlier. “A-ha!” I thought as I picked up as many chestnuts as I could hold as well as some of the shells. This time I would refrigerate them to try to preserve them.
Well, the chestnuts were preserved, but the green shells continued to ripen and eventually cracked open. Overall, it seemed that there was nothing that I could do to preserve the chestnut shells as I found them—green and prickly.
However, each day as I looked in the refrigerator, I could see the green prickly shell gradually changing to brown. The prickles remained, but seams formed along the shell and eventually began to split open, revealing a smooth, beautiful chestnut inside. Looking back over the journey, I cannot help but think how cool it was to see what was waiting for me each day as I opened the refrigerator.
In the end, I had chestnuts and shells exactly as they were meant to be. Not in my time, or exactly my way (preserved—green and prickly), but in God’s time and in God’s way. No sooner…no later…but perfect. How Divine!
There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.
– Ecclesiastes 3:1