Sweet Lessons in Sad Places

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It was fall and as the weather was getting colder with potentially stressful events approaching, a relative thought it would be great to have some homemade grape juice to avoid sickness during the flu season. The juice was intended to be healthy and not made with just any grapes, but fresh grapes that were personally selected and handpicked off the vine.

Now it had been years since I went to an orchard to pick fruit for canning purposes and I admit I wasn’t too keen on going. There were so many other things in life I seemed seriously behind on that needed my attention, but because I was asked to help with this project, I decided to go along so the picking processes wouldn’t take as long as it would otherwise with less help.

When I got to the orchard, I wasn’t too close to one of the ladies who was managing the place when she was apparently pointing out the best areas to go grape picking to another person but I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to figure it out myself. Just based on my own logic it seemed the patches of grapevines that looked the most green and lively would naturally have the most grapes.

But that wasn’t the case. As I searched the vines, I noticed it was the parts of the grape vines with the scantest leaves which from a distance didn’t seem to be doing great that actually had the most clusters of grapes when I got up close. I’m not a grape expert. I’m not sure if it was because the plant was investing most of its resources into the heavy clusters of fruit in those places which resulted in less leaf growth or if other fruit pickers just didn’t think those areas looked very promising so many grapes were left behind, or if maybe the reason was a little of both or something else altogether.

Whatever the reason was, it really stood out to me that the parts of the plant that seemed to be the most hopeless actually held the most hope for having what I was looking for while what looked good from a distance didn’t. The thought came to me that sometimes it is like that with life too. “So, since we have come to be considered righteous by God because of our trust, let us continue to have shalom with God through our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah. Also through him and on the ground of our trust, we have gained access to this grace in which we stand; so let us boast about the hope of experiencing God’s glory. But not only that, let us also boast in our troubles; because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope; and this hope does not let us down, because God’s love for us has already been poured out in our hearts through the Ruach HaKodesh who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5 CJB)

The most seemingly lifeless worthless parts of your life can also bear the most fruit. The grape picking reminded me of the words of Yeshua. “I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch which is part of me but fails to bear fruit, he cuts off; and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, so that it may bear more fruit. Right now, because of the word which I have spoken to you, you are pruned. Stay united with me, as I will with you — for just as the branch can’t put forth fruit by itself apart from the vine, so you can’t bear fruit apart from me.” (John 15:1-4 CJB) . Remember just because your leaves in life may not look great right now doesn’t mean God isn’t doing anything. It is easy to doubt our connection with God when things don’t look good, but have faith.

Picture originally found here

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