Blessed be the fruit
Jane Clamp has been enjoying a harvest from her soft fruit bushes, and reflects how her care of those bushes reminds her of God’s relationship with us.
Fans of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale would recognise the title of these musings. It’s a phrase I’ve been using often recently as I embark on the daily harvest of fruit in my garden. For once, the blackbirds seem to be leaving it well alone and I’ve had a bumper crop of first gooseberries, then redcurrants, raspberries and blackcurrants.
Growing my own fruit brings me great joy and satisfaction, just as God the Master Gardener intended. It also brings frustrations and challenges, and some life parallels which are worth considering.
‘Pruning’ is likely to be the first thing we think of, having heard many a sermon on John 15. It’s a thorny issue among fruit growers (excuse the pun!) and often a case of being cruel to be kind. Taking the knife to dead and diseased branches is fair enough, but cutting out apparently healthy branches seems a step too far. What we need to do is look ahead to the fruit to come.
Towards the end of last year, I felt God challenge me to lay down my interior design business. Since I’d been hearing a lot about pruning during the previous year, it didn’t come as a total surprise. I loved my work and the people I met through it, and it felt like a healthy branch to me, but I knew that I had to trust what God was doing. Sure enough, the increased time I have available for writing has been invaluable and, even more amazing, our household income unexpectedly increased in line with my lost earnings.
Patience is a watch-word in fruit growing, especially with the bushes (such as blackcurrants and gooseberries) that produce fruit on last year’s stems. All the lush growth of this season is the plant getting ready for what is to come.
It reminds me of times in my life when I have felt energised by a prophetic word or a sense that something is going to happen. I witness change around me and feel myself growing but…no fruit. Or at least not yet. Now is not the time to lose heart, but to remind ourselves that the perfect season is coming! God really does know best.
When God made his covenant with Noah, following the flood, He said: Be fruitful and increase in number (Genesis 9:7). Let’s not resist His pruning or His timing in seeing that come to pass.
There’s a time to plant and a time to uproot. Blessed be the fruit.
The image above is by Nowaja from Pixabay.com
Jane Clamp is the author of Too Soon, a devotional on the subject of miscarriage, published by SPCK in August 2018. A member of the Association of Christian Writers, she writes for local and national radio. In her spare time she is an interior designer and musician.
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