Monday, April 16, 2012

The Pain and The Harvest

God has been gracious to me.  He has seen it fit in His sovereign grace to send me a good friend named Bobbi.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am for a conversation that flows easily between spiritual truths, gun control laws, and motherhood.  Every other topic under the sun is fair game. 

Recently we lounged on my back porch while our kiddos played.  I pointed out a tree to her that I think is dead.  It looks mostly dead.  I think it might be just hanging on. 

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She told me this story.  

A family friend of hers owns a beautiful orchard.  One year after the harvest he noticed one tree that wasn’t bearing much fruit.  So, after some consideration he went to the tree with a baseball bat. He whacked that tree into near oblivion.  A long winter passed, then spring came, and that tree that had been whacked close to death started to bloom.  In fact that tree started to produce more fruit than any of his other trees.

I confess-I empathize with the tree.  Here lately I feel like I can relate.  I feel like God has been whacking me with a metaphorical baseball bat.  There are two particular desires of my heart that God seems determined to wretch from my hands.  I am trying to let go. 

But I hold my heart out and clutch it too.  I seemed determined to hold on to the things I should let go of.

Some might wonder why God would even care.  I mean, doesn’t have more important things to do? 

I am just one tree.  He has plenty of others.  I have felt that way.  Kind of annoyed with God, actually.  I have pleaded with God just to leave me alone for awhile.  Seriously, spiritually I am barely hanging on here.

But He is lovingly relentless. 

You see, this process isn’t one I would choose.  It hurts too much, and I don’t like to hurt.  I can’t tell you of anyone I know who really enjoys it.  Don’t we all avoid emotional pain if we can?  Why would He do this?  

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:2

But what I want isn’t sinful.  Some would even say it’s a good thing.  Why won’t He just bless it and be done.  Must it always be His will and not mine!!?? 

Yes.

This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8

All of this is being done to the Father’s glory. The fruit I bear in being a disciple will glorify God, but it will also bless me in eternity.  When I cannot see his hand I must trust its shadow. 

It hurts for a season, for one long winter.  Spring though, is coming, and the harvest I pray will be fruitful. 

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