If Fig Newtons are your only experience with figs, boy have you missed out. My family has always had fig trees in our yard. My grandparents who came from Italy started the tradition, so figs have always been a symbol of family to me. Starting in July, my mom, dad, brother and I would battle the bees to pick this incredible fruit. It is delicious not just to humans, but also to critters and birds, so you actually have to pick it just prior to it being ripe. Figs are sort of beautifully unique in that they are actually inside-out flowers! So, when someone gives you a fig, they have just given you a bunch of flowers!
When I was a kid, I was considered kind of a weirdo for (among other things) eating/mentioning figs. No one that I knew had heard of them as an actual fruit, just as the soft cookie (or “fruit and cake” as the slogan heralds), but I have it on good authority that figs were the first fruit to be named in recorded history – and they had quite a reputation! The leaves are big! Genesis 3:7 says that after Adam and Eve sinned and then realized they were naked, they sewed FIG leaves together to cover themselves. Nowadays, figs are sort of bougie/trendy which I think is a funny turn of events. There is fig balsamic vinegar, fig reduction, figs with goat cheese served on flatbreads, fig preserves, and fresh and dried figs are popular items on charcuterie boards. You know these lovelies are ACTUALLY in food fashion because Costco carries them! 😉
One day this week, figs made someone feel loved by God. My parents’ fig trees are loaded with them and there is no way we can eat them all, so I asked the neighbors to help themselves. One neighbor did so and brought them to a friend who had enjoyed them in the past. The friend couldn’t take them at the time, so our neighbor was bringing them home. On the way, she had an errand to run so stopped at a shop. There she ran into a woman who looked very sad, so she engaged her and began to chat. The woman said her husband had passed away 2 years prior and it was just one of those rough reminder days. SOMEHOW, they got to a point where the woman said that her neighbor used to have fig trees and would give some to her all of the time, but that he had cut his trees down, and oh how she missed those little fruits. WELL, no doubt this was a God appointment, because how else do you get into a conversation about figs, especially when you actually have a bag full of them in your car that are waiting to be enjoyed?!
My friend told her that God must have set up this chance meeting because she had some figs for her! After the woman realized it wasn’t a joke and that she was actually going to receive fresh figs, she couldn’t stop gushing over the fact that it completely made her day! She walked out of a store she had never been in, having encountered a new friend and the love of Jesus, who knew that at that moment, figs would be what would make her feel hugged.
Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains!
For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
Jesus doesn’t forget about His kids. If we look around us, we see beauty and kindness that reveal His love each and every day. And it may just come by way of a bunch of flowers disguised as figs!