Avery Island is located on the Vermilion Bay, 3 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. In the 1840’s, former Maryland banker Edmund McIIhenny moved to this island. Hoping to live off the land, McIIhenny tried to plant various crops. Unfortunately, the salt dome underneath the soil only yielded peppers. During a famine in the 1850’s, most of the residents left, abandoning this island. Trying to figure out what to do with all of these pepper plants, Edmund began to experiment. By the 1860’s, McIIhenny developed a hot sauce which tasted good on everything that he eat. Initially, collecting discarded cologne bottles left behind, Edmund shared his discovery with family and friends. By 1868 Tabassco Sauce was marketed and sold to the public, using bottles from a New Orleans glass supplier. Five generations later, Tabassco Sauce remains a household name across the country and throughout the world.
During the reign of Jehoshaphat, Israel faced a similar famine. Unsure what to do, the king brought in a reliable prophet to provide insight on what to do. After requesting a musician for inspiration, Elisha received a clear message from God. However, this command didn’t make sense initially, “dig a ditch.” Perhaps Jehoshaphat asked for more specific instructions, but the gist of this advice was to start digging in the desert. While Avery Island contains a salt dome, this desert floor revealed underground springs like Palm Springs, California. This vital resource provided ample water for animals, cattle and everyone in the kingdom. Instead of abandoning this region, God provided for Israel in their time of need.
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you, Luke 6:38.
According to Jesus’ little brother, God uses trials to test the faith of human beings, James 1:2-6. While most people talk a good game, you never know how you are going to react until you are thrust into turmoil. Edmund McIIhenny could have left Avery Island like many of his former neighbors. Jehoshaphat could have surrendered to an enemy in exchange for food and water. Yet, both men persisted, sticking things out until each figured out and completed their purpose on earth. McIIhenny waited almost 30 years before he realized why he came to Avery Island. As you read this blog, maybe you are experiencing your own arid season, frustrated and on the verge of quitting. Before you make any decision, remember the promise of James 1:12 so that a steadfast spirit will carry you on until you experience the fruits of persistence.
by Jay Mankus