Chlorine Flavored Orange Juice

Now that the title of this article has your attention (and possibly has you cringing), I’ll share my story with you.

I have always loved orange juice. Every time we venture south into Florida, we have to stop at the Florida Welcome Center on I-75 to get the complementary cup of OJ (or grapefruit juice). I know, it’s kinda cheesy, but it’s a tradition (this and singing the opening line to “Suwanee River” when you cross the Suwanee River…of course we do that!)

Anyway. Growing up in Georgia, I know virtually nothing about growing orange trees. Peaches, yes. Plums, certainly. So imagine my surprise to find out (the hard way) one summer that the vast majority of oranges are harvested in the winter months. Never really occurred to me, even with always getting oranges in my Christmas stocking.

When I was in college, my sister and I took her kids to Disney World for their first time. We managed to get a hotel deal with some Ivory soap labels (don’t ask, it was the 90s and we were on a tight budget). We arrive in the Sunshine State late the first day and when we get up the next morning we head to breakfast at the hotel restaurant. And of course, I order orange juice. I mean, this is Florida. It’s summertime – the season of all good fruits. So I’m expecting the freshest, most delicious OJ of all time. What I get is a mouth full of a cruel joke. It was concentrated orange juice, reconstituted with water that was heavily (I mean very heavily) chlorinated. Sort of like brushing my teeth after drinking orange juice, but combining the two into one memorable experience. I almost died right there at the table!

Why in the world would they do this to me? Well, little did this Georgia boy know at the time, but there are very few “fresh” oranges in July. This was when I realized that oranges (for the most part) are a winter fruit. But why? Bright colored, orange…well orange oranges, they scream “SUMMER”! Don’t they? Apparently God didn’t get the memo.

But after some thought it makes total sense. We need the vitamin C from oranges as a natural deterrent to winter colds and the like. God designed the growing season of oranges (and other citrus fruits) to coincide with the time of year when we needed their health benefits the most. Hum. Go figure, His timing is much more wise than a twenty-something year old on vacation to Disney.

And that’s the point of my story. God’s timing is perfect. Not just His timing with citrus. And even when we think we know how things should be scheduled, He knows best – even when it doesn’t make sense to us or fit our plans/perceptions. He sees things beyond our sight, and works it all together for our good (Rom. 8:28).

So the next time you are tempted to doubt God’s timing or to try to make His plans fit your schedule, just remember that chlorinated, reconstituted orange juice is nasty. And so is being out of step with God’s timetable.