Bear Much Fruit
I walk or run by these same grapevines every day, regardless of the route I take. Day after day, I’ve watched them grow and fill in. It was quite exciting when I first saw the flowers appear. It was even more exciting when those flowers gave way to green grapes—because that meant it would soon be that time of year when miles of plump, purple ones scent this town with NEPA sweetness. 🍇💜 😊
Except... day after day, the grapes remained green. I kept walking, watching, waiting. Still green. It seemed they were taking FOOOOR-EVVVVVER. (Even though I knew it was just the anticipation making it feel that way).
Well, lately, the grapes have started to turn purple. In fact, they’re currently a beautiful mix of green AND purple. And when I passed by them yesterday, God spoke to me about that mix.
He showed me that each day I walked by these same grapes, I usually prayed about the same things. As I waited for their change in color, I simultaneously waited for a change in circumstance.
As I thought about this, the Lord reminded me, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
It occurred to me that sometimes it’s more than just “bearing fruit.” Sometimes we also have to “bear” the ripening. And perhaps that’s the hardest part.
Sometimes there are seasons of life (the ripening) where all we can do is “hang on” to the vine. There are times when, no matter how much we want it, we can’t hurry the process. Things just have to unfold like the blossom and evolve like the fruit.
We have to be present—in the Word, inthe moment, in prayer, waiting it out. We have to hang on to the vine... in the heat, in the wind, in the rain, in the dark of night. Even if it seems like it’s taking FOOOOR-EVVVVVER.
Because, bit-by-bit, He’s working. That’s the promise. “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit...”
At first, our lives will bear “early fruit” though—fruit so green and so small that we hardly even recognize it as fruit. These are the bitter moments of life—like tiny green grapes—that, plain and simple, are not going to sweeten overnight. But they WILL sweeten. They just take time.
The problem is if we only look for the big miracle—the big change—we will miss the slow (but sure) progression. We will miss the sweet moments clustered together with the bitter ones.
I think I’ve kinda been doing that lately. I’ve been praying—over and over, day after day—for some things to be “fixed.” I’ve been praying for the purple, but I need to praise Him for the green.
“Do not despise small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin...” (Zechariah 4:10)
There is so much bitterness all around us these days. But I bet if we look close enough at the cluster of our moments each day, we will see a few sweet ones in there, too. I bet we might even be surprised to find there are far more purple than we thought.