December 6, 2021

by Kimberly Hobbs 

Rev. Lisa Morrison, Guest Writer, WWL
Life is bittersweet. It comes with the bitter and the sweet. We have the opportunity to learn and grow from the bitter, but we much prefer the sweet. This is only natural, but as long as we live in this fallen world, we will have to learn how to handle the bitter.
We love our kids (sweet), but sometimes they break our hearts (bitter). We land our dream job (sweet), but we have a coworker who gets on every nerve we have (bitter). We live on the ocean (sweet), but we end up with damage from the storms (bitter).
Recently, I found myself doing some work for my brother on his 40-acre property. He let me know he wanted me to uproot the bittersweet on his property – all 40 acres of it! I thought to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding me! It’s everywhere!” I literally spent weeks in the woods pulling up bittersweet roots, and if I happened to miss one, he let me know.
The more time I spent pulling up the roots, the more I understood how invasive bittersweet is. If it is not uprooted, it wraps itself around a tree and squeezes the life out of it. The only way to get rid of it is to pull up the whole root. It is a strenuous job because the roots are strong, long, and multiple shoots can come off one root.
As I spent weeks uprooting bittersweet, I had the visual image of what bitterness does to us if we allow it to take root in our lives. It becomes invasive, difficult to eliminate, and squeezes the life out of us. We can be completely destroyed by the roots of bitterness.
I eventually made peace with uprooting the bittersweet because I realized I was saving the trees.  Each root I pulled up saved the life of another tree. This became the sweetness in the midst of the bitterness. We can have sweetness in our lives as we uproot the bitterness. We become free from its death grip just as I freed the trees of the death grip of bittersweet.
Life is full of bittersweet. May we “make sure we do not fall short of the grace of God by allowing a root of bitterness to spring up causing trouble, which will [choke the life out of us].” (Hebrews 12:15) Dear daughter of the living God, choose to live in the sweetness of a life free of bitterness.