Originally uploaded by mincaye.
Whenever I think of Pierre-Joseph Redoute's painting Plums, I am reminded of true life, the kind of life that is abundant with the fruit of the Spirit.
Some days ago, it occured to me that this fruit is actually paradoxical in many ways, stubbornly standing out in a world that has no place for such fruit.
Love is not the absence of hate, but its presence in hate.
Joy is not the absence of grief, but the life that presses on in adversity.
Peace is not the absence of strife, but tranquility in its midst.
Patience is not the absence of restlessness, but a silence that transcends it.
Kindness is not the absence of cruelty, but a stubborn desire to overcome it.
Goodness is not the absence of evil, but a force that destroys it in a living being (something I remember from Yancey's Disappointment with God).
Faithfulness is not the absence of betrayal, but a loyalty that forgives even that.
Gentleness is not the absence of thunder, but a thunder that bides its time in love (from Max Lucado).
Self-control is not ascetism, but the confrontation of our worst fears in God's Spirit and the support of friends (thanks Soo Tian).