When the Lord Makes Banana Bread
A devotional by Malinda Fugate
1 John 1:9, Isaiah 1:18 (NIV)
The first thing I took out of my paper grocery bag was the vibrant yellow bunch of bananas.
The touch of green along their edges told me they were at the perfect time of enjoyment with a few days of ripeness ahead. I unpeeled one of the sweet, soft fruits and enjoyed my delightful snack, unaware of what the next week would hold.
Life got a little crazy, as it does, and my bunch of bananas waited patiently on their hanger in steadfast support, at the ready for breakfast or snacking—or perhaps to be frozen for future service in a smoothie. But in the busyness of bill-paying, dog-caring, and work-doing, the faithful fruit was forgotten. Until one morning, I discovered the vibrant yellow was replaced with splotchy brown. All firmness was gone, leaving a mushy, overly-sweet-smelling bananas about to fall off their hanger. What a waste.
And so it goes with sin. We begin with good intentions, staying connected to the Lord through prayer, worship, and Bible study. He is constantly on our hearts and minds, equipping us to make good decisions as the Holy Spirit reminds us of His Word. Then the busyness kicks in and distractions pull our attention away from our Heavenly Father. Our decisions become less faithful and our intentions focus more on self. Before we know it, we’ve fallen into the trap of sin, dishonoring God and making a mess of our lives. Like the overripe banana, we are falling apart with a heart that isn’t at its prettiest. We feel like a failure, as if all is lost.
Yet, the overripe banana still has a purpose. The capable baker can turn the mushy fruit into the most soft, delicious loaf of banana bread, bringing joy to anyone fortunate enough to have a taste. So it is with our sinful hearts. Though it seems like the end, we have not been discarded by our loving Heavenly Father. Our place in His heart is not lost. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Sin does not disqualify us from serving God. Once we repent and are forgiven, the Lord heals our hearts and helps us grow. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). God has a purpose for our lives, and, as He knows all, He is aware of our sin.
It is often said that He turns our mess into our message. Once He begins His healing work in our hearts, from that place we are able to serve Him and testify of His goodness to others. In the process of forgiveness and restoration, we become more mature and equipped for obedience. He does more than give a second chance—the Lord redeems us and creates something beautiful in our souls.
Malinda Fugate writes from the heart.
Though she serves full time as the Children’s Education Director at a church in Southern California, she is also a crafter of words published in books.
Her writing includes children's faith resources, commercial copywriting, and various faith-based stage and screenplays.
Malinda invites you to explore the various 3:16s in the Bible with her new book, The Other Three Sixteens (published by Ambassador International in May 2020).
She also invites you to read her previously published books: Bible Time for Active Kids, which is an activities-based devotional that is available for purchase on Amazon.com, and The Pen and the Sword: Connecting With the Word of God, which is an interactive creative writing journal.
Malinda earned a communications degree with a theatre emphasis from Azusa Pacific University, and then worked behind the scenes at the Los Angeles Salem radio stations, including The Fish and KKLA.
When she's not writing or working at church, Malinda might be creating art, reading, or exploring the many adventures to be found in the Los Angeles area. She lives by the beach with her pup, Yoshi.
Visit Malinda online via https://www.malindafugate.com.