A man once bought a home with a tree in the backyard. It was winter, and nothing marked this tree as different from any other tree. When spring came, the tree grew leaves and tiny pink buds. HOW WONDERFUL, thought the man. A FLOWER TREE! I WILL ENJOY ITS BEAUTY ALL SUMMER. But before he had time to enjoy the flowers, the wind began to blow and soon all the petals were strewn in the yard. WHAT A MESS, he thought. THIS TREE ISN'T ANY USE AFTER ALL. The summer passed, and one day the man noticed the tree was full of green fruit the size of large nuts. He picked one and took a bite. "Bleagh!" he cried and threw it to the ground. "What a horrible taste! This tree is worthless. Its flowers are so fragile the wind blows them away, and its fruit is terrible and bitter. When winter comes, I'm cutting it down. But the tree took no notice of the man and continued to draw water from the ground and warmth from the sun and in late fall produced crisp red apples. Some of us see Christians with their early blossoms of happiness and think they should be that way forever. Or we see bitterness in their lives, and we're sure they will never bear the better fruit of joy. Could it be that we forget some of the best fruit ripens late?