Square Watermelon
My husband frequently travels out of the country on business, and my son and I are often the recipients of many interesting facts and strange truths about different cultures around the world. Recently, after a trip to Japan, my husband came home with a unique piece of information and even had the pictures to back it up.
Japan is one of his favorite countries and he has never failed to be impressed by their industriousness, attention to detail, and innovative approaches to living. Because the country is small geographically, real estate is at a premium and every effort is made to maximize the limited space. Form and function are of high value in their culture. This is evident in most aspects of Japanese living, and it appears that even the simple watermelon has been impacted. In Japan they grow square watermelons. These square versions are limited in size and fit well into a refrigerator thus allowing valuable space to be utilized more efficiently. Items can be stacked on and around a square watermelon as opposed to the large oval ones we grow here in the United States.
Growing a square watermelon is accomplished by planting seeds into boxes of a specified size. The watermelons grow snugly to the parameters of the box and are brought to market as soon as they reach the perfect dimension. They are typically the same size and weigh about three pounds on average. After telling me about this fascinating process, my husband gave me a profound statement to mull over—he said,”you know, this is a basic principle we can learn from…you will never grow beyond the box that you have placed around yourself and your life.” So true. Watermelons that are planted in fertile soil, cared for, and left without limits can grow quite enormous. In fact, last year’s championship watermelon weighed in at nearly 300 pounds!


I have thought about his observations for months now, and I know that he is right about the crippling effect of limitations in the Christian’s life—and to the Christian marriage as well. God’s word is clear on this. In Jeremiah 29:11 he says, “for I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” and in John 10:10 he says, I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” The words prosper and abundance mean limitless living. We are heirs to the greatest kingdom that will ever be known, filled with the Holy Spirit, and have been generously supplied with an amazing array of unique and marvelous spiritual gifts and yet we stubbornly focus on hardships and trials and allow circumstances and selfish desires to box us in and inhibit our spiritual and relational growth.
What Box Do You Have Around Your Marriage?
A recent Barna poll showed that 50% of evangelical Christians wind up in divorce court these days. Of the 50% of Christian couples that stay together, less than 30% report happiness and contentment in their marriage. This is nothing more than committed Christians allowing their relationships to become boxed in—conforming to the standards of the world’s view instead of embracing the joys of God’s design.

An acquaintance of mine recently took her children and left her husband. There are serious issues plaguing their marriage, and I do not in any way wish to minimize this fact, but she despondently told me that, “he’ll never change.” I immediately refuted that statement to her. Her expectations are boxing him in. More importantly, she has placed limits on the mighty power of our God to change and heal in a miraculous way.

We have friends that are experiencing severe financial hardship. These people amaze me. Their obedience and faith are unwavering. They are in the perfect position to place themselves and their marriage in a box and erect boundaries around their joy. Instead, they willingly give of themselves and their limited resources in ministry to others. I have watched their love for one another thrive and grow. They are living outside the box—allowing God to guide them through adversity and trusting His limitless provisions.

So often, God wants to move us in powerful ways but we allow fear to control our every step. We allow the enemy’s lies to infiltrate and take root in our lives. We allow setbacks and difficulties to bog us down and keep us from striving. Certainly all believers will face challenges and our relationships will definitely encounter tough times, but God never intended for us to live in defeat and failure.

Les Parrott's Making Happy
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If you want to experience friendship and intimacy in your marriage, what is stopping you? If you want a peaceful home, keep working at being a peacemaker. If you want God to direct your marriage, study His word and seek His face. If you aren’t happy with your marriage—don’t be happy—until you have moved the boxes out of the way to allow God to grow your relationship into all He wants it to be.

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.”

Psalm 92:12-13

Copyright © 2008 Dawn Emeigh . All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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