In Your Not so Perfect Season
Seasons come and go and much like a new Spring with flowers blooming or a Fall ready for harvest, there is a rhythm and a plan that we can rely on. Sometimes in life I feel like my rhythm is just completely off. I remember thinking as I was graduating high school that I wasn’t ready for the next season because I had no idea what direction I was supposed to go.
I think my most unforgettable moment of crisis came when I was twenty four. My friends were: graduating college, getting careers, getting married, having babies, building homes, some had even started graduate programs. Meanwhile I was: recently single, living with my parents, and years away from graduating college. Yes it is possible that my choices and my plans had not been given over to the perfect management of God, that out of fear for choosing the wrong path I chosen no path. But the truth is that God had his watchful eye over me, even in all of my hasty decision making, my missteps, my failings, my desert moments and my overwhelming urge to apply for the world’s most useless person award; he was still there.
If you are going to live in a place with little to no climate change, most people would pick a tropical Island, but my life was a cold frost desert of Siberian death. I had no idea that even though my life looked aimless and without purpose that the Master Craftsman was hard at work. It felt more like everyone else knew exactly what they were doing, where they were going and how they we going to get there, while I wandered in my desert.
I am not alone in having a season where either by circumstance or choice I was out of rhythm. The bible is filled with our Heroes of faith that found themselves out of rhythm more than in it.
Abraham and Sarah were unable to have children and God promised them descendants so abundant that they would be like the stars in the sky. Sarah was a little out of season as she gave birth to a boy in her old age. And yet there was going to be no mistaking that God had done a miracle among them.
And speaking of me wandering around in a desert, Moses, did that too. First he was a slave adopted by a princess. He became an important person who then became a murderer, who then ran away to become a shepherd. A shepherd who was then recruited by God to be the leader of God’s people and would take the Israelites from captivity to victory. Then not many steps after seeing God do marvelous works, they would wander a desert for forty years in search of their Promised Land. Moses’s titles and trials were sometimes circumstantial and sometimes chosen but no title or trial could define and shape him into anything other than the man God was shaping him to be. God wastes nothing. He is in control.
I think we believe a lie that if we don’t produce fruit in every season or in the proper season that we are not productive. I was fruitless in many seasons but that did not mean I was incapable of baring fruit.
It is fall here and while all my other plants are starting to wither and die I have this crazy little strawberry plant that just doesn’t seem to know much about when it is supposed to die, or fruit for that matter. It had no fruit during strawberry season but now all of a sudden it is giving me these sweet little strawberries.
The first thing I noticed about it fruiting in this season is that it stands out by a mile. All the plants around it are pale and withered while this green lively strawberry plant is producing fruit.
The second thing I noticed is that the birds, bugs and critters are not stealing the fruit, it is as if they are completely unaware of it due to it not being the season for it.
The third thing I noticed is that I am over the moon excited to eat these strawberries because I haven’t had a fresh strawberry since the spring, so the fruit in this season seems sweeter and more noticeably pleasant on my pallet.
This strawberry is thriving in its “not so perfect season”, whether it is the season that is imperfect with unkind storms and trials, droughts and disasters or the plant that is just out of tune with its natural rhythm, it doesn’t matter because the creator of both the season and the strawberry is still on His throne.
Stop and consider this: That strawberry wasn’t producing visible fruit in the spring because it was developing its roots. Are we so dependent on seeing fruit that we would risk using all our energy on that instead of on something deeper? If we miss our developing moments with God we may become shallow and potentially allow death to take us over because we have no roots. In these seasons of trial and doubt we must focus all of our energy on that which is most valuable; our dependence on Christ, our foundation. Then in the most amazing way when we aren’t even expecting it, we will bear fruit.
The fruit that came from the strawberry that was out of season was three things:
Beautifully noticed by everyone as a miracle that makes us stop and question, “How is this possible”? Giving glory to a perfect God who often uses our, off rhythm moments to shine brighter than ever before.
It was protected from predators that weren’t aware of it or expecting it. No enemy we have calculates the miracle of God’s unexpected plans, the enemy sees pain and trail as defeat but we know from the Story of the cross that Christ proved that it those painful moments in surrender to God that can produce a powerful punch.
And the fruit was desirably delicious! It was set apart for a special and divine moment. It tasted sweeter and was a blessing that was magnified by the waiting. How great and glorious will be that day that we produce fruit that isn’t just a reaction to a season but is produced by the nutritional feeding of the depths of our being. When we feed our Spirit we will become strong in ways that we didn’t know we could be and do things that defy the natural way of things.
Some apple trees will fruit every two years, one year it will fruit and the next it will hold back, waiting patiently not just so that its harvest is plentiful, but also so it can tend to the nutritional needs of the tree. How sad if we cut down a tree that wasn’t fruiting but was healing just because we couldn’t see the fruit. Yet we cut ourselves down and we judge the process by other trees fruit. We become obsessed with that which is seen and forget the importance of the growth that is unseen. Do not waste your season of growth no matter if it is through trial or triumph. Our primary focus shouldn’t be the fruit but the foundation of who we are. Focus all of yourself on Jesus; On the vine.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
All we are asked to do is to remain in Him and above all else love, Him and others, He will do all the rest. He will prune, He will develop the fruit, and He will dwell within us. That last part of the verse says “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit- fruit that will last-“
Fruit that will last! How beautiful to bear fruit that will last.