I like to buy those little oranges (Cuties or Haloes) and have them for a snack. I especially enjoy them when the juice runs all over my hands – then I know that they will be delicious. Sometimes they end up being dry and shriveled. I eat them, but they are not nearly as delicious. I’m not sure if they are too old or picked too soon or have just been sitting in my refrigerator too long, but they are no longer full of juice.
Do you ever feel dry and shriveled? I have gone through times when my soul was so dry I thought a good strong wind might blow it away. I longed for the clean, fresh wind of God to blow through me and make me new. I understood the psalmist who wrote, “My soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1). I felt like an orange that had lost its juice.
Sometimes it is the circumstances of life that can dry us out and shrivel us up. Sickness or stress over money can wear us down until we are worn out. Losing a job or a loved one can dry us up. For me it has always been the demands of others that suck the life out of me: the endless needs of my parishioners when I was a pastor. Never being able to please someone. Feeling like you are always inadequate. All of these things can make us feel like we have lost the juice, the pleasure, the joy in life.
Sometimes as we age we get dry and shriveled. Our spirits shrink, our horizons narrow. Our opinions harden and we become intolerant of differences. I think about this whenever I feel like calling young people “whippersnappers.” I don’t want to be a grumpy old person who can’t find anything good in anything new or young. I want to keep an adventurous spirit and always be interested in what is around the next corner. I want to stay full of the juice of life, ready to be squeezed.
A verse that has become more meaningful to me in recent years is Psalm 133:2: “It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes.” When I was younger I could only see what a mess this verse would make, but now I embrace it, seeing it as a juicy verse – an abundant verse – that speaks of God’s love as it spills and runs over us until we can feel it deep in our dry bones.
So have a blessed life. Have an abundant life where God’s love spills over into souls that are sometimes dry and shriveled. Be a person who is full of juice and may you stay juicy all the days of your life.