They only had one more night before they would abide safely but it was not to be. As I glanced over my deck rail it became apparent that my two new fruit trees had fallen victim to munches from the deer before I was able to get the protective fencing around them.
Calling out to my neighbor, I asked him if they would come back. “I don’t know”, he replied as I walked towards the Pear and Peach Trees. Drawing near I stooped… and began to peer closely. I glanced at the leaves and then up and down the stems; looking intensely both at the damage and for signs of growth.
But trees are hardy and I live on orchard land; they were in the ground for two weeks before the attack came, thereby they were somewhat acclimated to their new abode. And as I peered closer I saw tiny pink protruding from the stems and I knew that there would soon be new shoots with leaves and eventual fruit.
Such is the way of our God. He comes close…bends over us and…looks for signs of growth indicating eventual fruit in our lives. He will allow us to be tried and tested; wounded if necessary with the goal of our becoming Christ-like; this is most wise and marvelous to Him, even though we ache in heart.
He comes especially close during times when we have been attacked; victims of the enemy’s teeth, so to speak, as my trees were. Indeed, His gaze is never off us during these times. He is always bending near; ever so close to make certain that no damage is greater than we can endure.
And then I remembered my own life…Jesus is ever so near during my times of ache…hurt, confusion. He will never allow more than I can handle. And I am planted in the best of ground; deep in the Word of God, taught so patiently by the Holy Spirit; led and guided through the traumas of life; I press towards the goal of becoming like Him.
He longs for me to have an abiding relationship with Him. He yearns for me to be ever closer to His sweet heart. He cherishes me. And because it is also through a close, intimate relationship with Him that fruit will be brought forth in and through my life. He will do what is necessary to get my attention and woo me to His sweet heart.
But it is during these times that it helps me endure, if I remember that He always has his hedge of protection surrounding me and nothing can penetrate it without His loving permission; all is under His sovereign control.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
John 15: 1-5
By Elizabeth Ann Grace, “Beauty from Ashes, Finding God’s Peace in the Midst of a Shattered Heard”