For the last few weeks I've been in somewhat of a funk (and by "somewhat" I mean "majorly"). I think it's a result of feeling stuck in our house and unable to move downtown. I was honestly (yikes to writing this down) feeling angry at God. Because why would He give us this vision for serving and living in the city, and then not provide a way for us to get there?
Not to mention that it was frigid-cold and I have been cooped up in the house for days on end with my defiant 17 month old. I felt like my ministry was non-existent. What I was doing didn't matter. I used to go downtown and volunteer and work with the kiddos 3 or 4 days a week at least. Now it's one day on a good week. So why would God be moving me AWAY from what I was certain He had called me towards?
But then this week, the Lord did an amazing thing. No, He didn't sell our house. Or provide us a house downtown. . . He changed my perspective and transformed my heart.
Sometimes we can get so overwhelmed by the size and abundance of our vision (or God's blessing) that we forget how much time and work it can take to get there.
Take, for example, the Israelites. In the description of the Promised Land in Numbers 13:23, the Word says: "They cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them." Um hello? A single cluster of grapes that has to be carried on a pole by two people? Those must have been some freakin' huge grapes people. I mean, not even I'm that out of shape that i can't just pick up a cluster of grapes and carry it all by my lonesome.
For the Isrealites, the huge grapes were a promise of an abundance in the land they were going to inherit. But fear, and disobedience, prevented them from immediately laying hold of that abundance. In our lives, we see these ginormous grapes, this vision we've been given for our ministry in the city. And I'm all like: "well great, I love giant grapes, lets do this thing . . . "
However, I learned this week that grapes take a long time to cultivate. Three out of four seasons during the year, the vines aren't producing fruit. In fact, sometimes they look downright dead. Because maybe it's not the right season for fruitfulness. Sometimes you have to cultivate the soil. Or prune the vines. Or wait. . . But just because something looks dead, doesn't mean it IS dead. Because scrape the surface, and you'll the green that's germinating and hiding within.
I realized that even when my life might LOOK dead, and I might not be producing fruit like I want to be, things are happening. God is cultivating the soil and working under the surface to grow my roots. To prune me. To strengthen me. To prepare me.
With that realization, my heart and perspective were transformed. Because this season is just as important as the fruit-producing season. In fact, without this season, there would be no fruit. So I will rest in the work (which sounds like an oxymoron) that Christ is doing to prepare me. And I will anticipate and envision and pray for those big grapes, that promise, the vision I know He's given us.
What about you, what is He cultivating in you during this season of your life? I'm praying that you will remember that it's all important for the harvest. And those people who are in their fruitful season, they might LOOK more exciting and "good" and like they're doing more for the kingdom, but you never know what's happening and what God is doing below the surface to work in those who might LOOK like they're dead.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." - John 15:5