The other week I found myself out picking red raspberries alone. My mind wandered free without my berry girl filling it with chit chat. It was a crisp, cool day after a string of humid ones and I was relishing the warm sun, God's innumerable provisions and the peace and quiet of the yard.
Mindlessly picking, I came upon a section of raspberry patch where Jamey had planted new starts early in the spring. Because the starts were small, weeds had weaseled their way in, hemming in the new plants and even towering over them. I walked down the row not expecting to see any fruit on these small, choked out canes but to my surprise, hidden among the weeds there was fruit.
In the blink of an eye my thoughts clung to the imagery and thought after thought raced to be next. I found myself comparing our lives to these raspberry bushes and became overwhelmed to the point of clouded vision, making picking a bit of a challenge and yet at the same time a holy task.
We are like the raspberry plant, treasured ones.
The world, like the weeds, try to block our heavenly view. They attempt to distract us, waving their large leaves and flashy blossoms everywhere we look. They suck us dry, limiting the time and energy we have to drink the living water. They shade the Son that we need to thrive.
Sin, like the large ants and Japanese beetles bore holes into us. They open wounds where smaller ants and tinier beetles take advantage of our weakness, growing the ugly parts, doing their best to take control and in the process keep us mired in the sin, unable to focus on much else.
Despite the weeds and the attackers, though, there is fruit. We bear fruit and sometimes, to me, it feels like a miracle. It is by the grace of God that we do.
Some strong canes reach tall to the sky, clearing the weeds, escaping the insects and are laden with perfect berries. Some canes bow their heads low, often overlooked and yet, there lies fruit as well. Some produce fruit that is obvious- pops of red seen across the yard, long before standing in front of the patch. Others hide their fruit under leaves, humbly, out of sight from everyone and yet their fruit is sometimes even more bountiful that those whose fruit is exposed.
I am just humbled that despite our flaws, despite all that's out there that wants to squelch us, God has given us the ability to produce fruit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Not to mention all the ways we can show His love to others through gestures, prayers and love.
We were made for good! And to be a blessing! And while sometimes we grow weary and stop producing, like a gardener replanting a spring shoot, we can experience a revival in our lives and produce fruit once again.
We are redeemed. By His grace, friends, we bear fruit. You bear fruit.
What a joy and a privilege to do so.