Nov 13, 2007

How Much Fruit?

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

As I sit here at my computer staring blindly at the blank page waiting to be filled, God reminds me anew that He is the source of all good things in me. This week has been one of slight personal struggle, and I confess, I have reacted to my trials by pulling away from spending time with God. Interesting that this follows on the heels of my devotional last week encouraging us to make it our goal to know God more intimately. Anyway, I digress.

I have known all day that I need to sit down and type up this post, but I could not figure out what it was I wanted to say. Usually, I am feeling particularly passionate about a lesson God has given me and I can’t wait to get it out. I decided I needed to pray and ask God what He wanted (duh).

“Father, I know I have not spent time with You as much as I should. I’m sorry. But these ladies are depending on me to get out a devotional tonight, so could you please tell me what to say?” I left off what else I was thinking: “and hurry, please. I need to get this done before Cooper wakes up from his nap.”

Still. . .nothing. Shocking, I know. I plodded on, deciding that I would write about a subject that God has been talking to me about for a couple of months. However, after I managed to painfully put a few words together to compose the first sentence, I had nothing else. A vast vacuum of nothingness. It was as if someone had turned my brain completely off. Stringing together words and phrases in an effort to give us something to ponder has been a joy to me and all of sudden, I was incapable of putting words to thought. It was at this moment that God reminded me that anything that He wants done through me will come from Him, not me. Not only will the command come from Him, but the ability to carry it out will also.

So often we get instruction from the Lord and we take it and run. We devise an action plan, implement strategies, and get going. And we are successful for a time. We are in His will. We are seeing fruit. But, inevitably, the moment comes when we realize we have done everything we can do in our own power. We hit a wall. Maybe you get assigned a task that you are completely untrained or ill-equipped to handle. Or maybe you are forced to work closely with someone who you, quite frankly, despise. Maybe, someone you feel you have been sent to help, is starting to look like they are beyond help at all. Or maybe, like me, your creative juices just dry up. Our plan starts to unravel, and we start to doubt whether we are really called to this place at all. Yes, we have seen fruit, but we begin to imagine it withering on the vine.

“Maybe I misheard God. This is too hard and I have no idea what I am doing. Maybe He didn’t really call me here.”

“I knew God calling me here was too good to be true. Obviously, I’m not succeeding anymore; everything is stagnant. I need to move on.”

It is at this exact time that God is calling us to turn to Him. He is whispering, or maybe with some of us yelling, “You cannot do this on your own! You need Me! If you will let me do this through you, the results will be astounding!”

God tells us that it is His will for us to bear much fruit (John 15:8), but He also tells us in verse 5 of this same chapter that we cannot do it if we are not remaining in Him. In the original language, remain has two synonyms that I find extremely interesting:

1. to stand
2. to wait for

How often do we stand and wait for God to give us further direction? How often do we hear only the first step and hastily bolt out the door confident that we know what to do from here? We know what we're doing, after all. Ladies, we must pause. We must listen. We must stop thinking that we know how to do it all. (Don't you hate that it always comes back to that?) We need to take our humility pill and admit that we need God to not only give us the what, but the how, where, and when as well.

God has a great plan for you, a unique way for you to do His work. And it will be the most fulfilling work you've done. But it is His plan, not yours. His way, not yours. Your way may produce a little fruit, but His produces much. And it is fruit that lasts (vs. 16).

Resolve today to stand, wait, listen, and then obey. When you do, your branch will begin to bend under the weight of new fruit. Mmmm. Do you smell that? Smells like grapes.

Father God, thank you for your patience with us. Thank you that when we rush ahead of you, trying to do things on our own, you are still there waiting to catch us when the fall comes. Thank you that you have everything under control and that your plan is good. Help us to wait on you, to trust you with the timing and the details. Thank you that we even get to be a part of your work here on this earth. Amazing. We love you. In Christ's Name, Amen.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for ALWAYS knowing exactly what I need to hear, even when it is hard to hear. I miss you and love you. Thanks for taking time to write and share with us your life.

Misti said...

Is this Paige? I love and miss you so much. Thank you for letting me know God used was difficult writing this week. You encouraged me. Love you!

Anonymous said...

My Dear Niece,

You may have had a little set back this week but God meant for you to, so that you could have some time for your own personal thoughts. He knows that at this time of the year is very hard on you and will always be, missing your baby girl! He is so proud of you and your work!

He gave you an A+ on this lesson this week. Very powerful, wonderfully written and thank you!

I cannot stress how much I'm proud of you!

Love you
Your Favorite Aunt