One of the delights of my international travel has been to walk down the streets of the various cities among the multitude of produce stands. I especially love the fruit stands. The shapes, the colors splatter across my eyes, the smells curl up my nose, and my mouth secretes imaginary tastes. Next time you eat an apple’red, yellow or green’think about the shape, the color, the smell and the taste oozing with nutrients and minerals’the stuff we people are made of. To eat calcium, potassium, chlorine, iron, copper and zinc, we don’t chew, lick or suck them raw and grainy out of the ground. Instead, we crunch into an apple, burst a grape in our mouth, or mash a banana with our teeth. We learn about creators by their creations. Goya’s ‘Black Paintings,’ mythological scenes of savagery and violence show his gloomy, twisted soul. Albert Camus’ books display the despair, pessimism and hopelessness that tormented him. Be glad that the mind that imagined and made the strawberry, not the ‘Black Paintings,’ is the mind that imagined and made we humans, too. Yet we humans have the violence, suffering, hate, tragedy, perversions, hunger and anger that these artists have depicted. But these aberrations are not God’s. He made marriage and sex, but we became adulterers and pornographers. He stocked the earth with material blessings, and we became selfish. He created races and weaved fire, and we burn crosses. He gave us words, and we lie and curse. He breathed into us life, and we kill. He gave us grapes, and we have become drunks. These are the reasons why war, disease, violence, hatred, suffering, alienation, earth and poverty scar the world. This is not God’s doing. Instead, the vines that wrap the earth with grapes and watermelons and the trees that cover the earth with tangerines, lemons, cherries and bananas are God’s doing’His thoughts, ideas and words made real’tangibles that we can sink our teeth into. And if there is a blotch on the banana, remember that God made the banana first’ the blotch came after. There’s more than fruit in the fruit stand. There’s hope. When I look at peaches, pears and plums, I know that God must exist. Cranberries, cherries and pineapples are unmistakable evidence that God cares. Mangoes, bananas and strawberries show that, despite despair, we can trust God. The Bible says that God loves us, and raspberries, blackberries, avocadoes and cantaloupe make it easier to believe. In the fruit stand, I can feel God smiling down upon me and hear Him from heaven, saying, ‘See, I really do love you. Just trust Me.’ That’s why I love a fruit stand. An apricot might not be the answer to my problems, but it shows me that God is. I don’t believe that chance put a peach tree in the pit, put the pit in the peach and put the peach on a tree anymore than I believe that evolution made watermelon melt in my mouth. There’s a story about a man who mocked God because acorns sat atop tall trees while watermelon crushed thin vines into the ground. ‘If God was so smart, why didn’t He place the acorn on a vine and the watermelon atop the tree’ he chided, until one day an acorn fell on his head. A rabbi once wrote that the heathen, who have never known about the true God or the Holy Scriptures, can learn enough about God through nature that on judgment day they will be without excuse. Next time you encounter the fruit section of your grocery, pick up an orange. No earthly parents could have imagined anything so perfect for their children and they grow on trees, millions upon millions, juicy, tasty, saturated with the elements of life. Imagine if, instead of squashing an orange in your mouth, the only way to get your vitamin C was to eat tablets or get an injection. Grab a pomegranate, a melon, a pear’ and open your eyes. Forget your own ideas, your preconceived opinions, prejudices and worldly philosophies and get back to basics. Whoever made the melon had to be God! Raspberries, boysenberries, guava, pomegranates (how could anyone look at these and not see the love of God’), passion fruit, kiwi, papaya, grapes, limes, cantaloupe, nectarines (it’s like the Garden of Eden, almost), pineapple, cranberries, blueberries’ And we haven’t even got to the veggies!