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  • Writer's pictureChrista Prill

Waiting for Fruit

In the corner of my yard grows an apple tree. It is a bit spindly, branches growing out in varying directions, all proclaiming the lack-of-proper-pruning knowledge of its care-taker. Its little trunk holds the marks made years ago by our tabby sharpening her claws. Come August, there will be night-dwellers crawling along its branches, hopeful for a midnight snack. Other people might say to cut it down, but no, not me.

That little tree was a gift from a sweet-eyed, curly-haired little two-year-old and his daddy almost a decade ago. I woke up on Mother’s Day to find the surprise planted in the backyard. It was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

And here, on a March day, a decade later, despite improper pruning and unwanted bugs, antsy cats and hungry rats, the faithful apple tree still begins to flower.

With a little help from pollinators, fertilizer, and water, those flowers will slowly, patiently grow over the next handful of months into delicious, beautiful apples. I know that, and I’m sure you know that, too. But does the apple tree know? Does it know it’s made for more than just flowers?

Does that wiry tree have any idea of the plans I have for its fruit?

Perhaps we can relate to my apple tree: a bit unkempt; a little taken advantage of by the world around us, not looking like much during some seasons. We might feel like our spindly branches of small growth are inadequate, or like our few green shoots of faith won’t end up amounting to much. We might worry that our delicate flowers of tiny obedience won’t have the strength to stand up against even a gentle rain.

We might get stuck thinking that it ends there—like maybe that’s as much as the little tree of our lives will ever produce.

But God sees so much more.

I wonder if the God who created the heavens and the earth, the one who made us his special work, the one who created plans for us long ago (Eph. 2:10), looks at us this same way I look at my apple tree. He knows just what kind of fruit will come because of our little green leaves and our teeny-tiny flowers.

Even when we cannot imagine what our future fruit might look like, God sees it and he patiently works on us while he waits for it. He is a good gardener—one who knows exactly what to prune and what to leave, one who knows just what kind of nourishment we need, one who has the strength to combat the pests that dare to spoil our fruit.

Friend, if you are in a season where your branches feel a bit flimsy, and you can’t understand why you can’t bear fruit in your life like your orange-bearing neighbor, rejoice in knowing the God who knows your future.

Be patient as your little blossoms of obedience grow in form and function. Be thankful that you have One who watches over your life in anticipation of the fruit that will be produced through you. He looks forward to the day when you will produce “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”(Gal. 5:22-23). Just as I treasure my imperfect little apple tree, the Heavenly Father treasures you.

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