By Barbara Higby
From cherry blossoms in the spring to apples ripe for picking in the fall, we enjoy the beauty of bountiful trees in the Garden State. We wait for peak season to stroll through Branch Brook Park, wowed anew that Newark’s cherry blossoms rival those in D.C. In autumn we plan a day to pluck apples from their branches to make pies and sauce. The gray, dormant trees of winter do not disappoint—come spring, one by one, they begin producing their fruit. And so do we.
We could turn this discussion to seasons and the need for warmth and sunshine, or review the necessity of water-searching roots. Instead, let’s look at a simple secret to bearing fruit—being connected.
Fruit production should not be viewed as work; it’s less complicated than that. Fruit doesn’t come from our labor but through our connection to the branch.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NKJV)
That sounds simple, but it’s not easy to lie dormant, to wait, to trust things will happen without effort. It’s not easy to trust when I don’t even see buds. It’s not easy to be expectant when I feel nothing coursing through my veins. And it’s certainly not easy to submit to pruning and believe that somehow it will help. But abiding is a sign of faith in the unseen, mysterious ways of God. It’s believing that the premise of John 15 is true and a connected branch will bring forth fruit, and more fruit, and then much fruit. And there’s no expiration date.
So I’m just a quiescent, expectant branch hanging on to the Tree for dear life—and that position, that connection, that dependence is producing fruit.
I am fruitful.
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green. Psalm 92:12-14 (NIV)
Barbara Higby is a writer and inspirational speaker. Watch for the release of her book, I Was Broken, Too; Four Paths to Renew Hope. You can read her bio and follow her blog at barbarahigbyhope.com.