Wait Patiently

IMG_0609We have three kiwi vines planted on the back half of our property that have over the past 4 or so years grown full, lush and vigorous. They are truly gorgeous plants with shiny deep green leaves that need surprisingly little care. There’s really only one problem… they have yielded very little fruit. And by very little, I mean this year, after waiting a long time, is the first season we’ve seen any fruit at all. Right now we have a total of 5 tiny little kiwis on the mammoth vines. Five! After realizing that we’d have another year of nearly non-existent production, I started thinking about what might be wrong. Since the problem with plants is not usually in the leaves or fruit, but instead is buried much deeper, I hypothesized there was something probably off in the soil or with the roots that was at fault for the absent yield. As I surveyed our plants, it occurred to me to use this situation as an object lesson on the importance of being firmly rooted in the good soil of the Word of God and how that would the solution to a believer’s “fruit-bearing” problems. It was a good analogy.

IMG_0628But, before I could sit down to write the post, I heard a Saturday morning lawn and garden talk show take a question about kiwi plants.  What were the odds that a caller in my county (the second smallest in the state) would be having trouble with kiwi vines! Thinking it wasn’t a coincidence, I listened intently to what the host had to say, hoping to have expert verification and an authoritative quote to support my analogy.

IMG_0618
Four of our kiwis!

Apparently the caller was having a similar experience to ours; healthy and vigorous plants but a very small yield. The host advised against fertilizer or other root based treatments, but instead told the gardener that if the plants were indeed healthy, there was nothing wrong. Since the kiwi vines that can thrive in the American southeast must be many years old before they even start to produce a substantial yield, the owner only needed to be patient and wait.

Obviously, that was good news for my kiwi, but bad news for my analogy!

That is, until I thought about it a little more.

Perhaps there was something important Christians could learn from my plants after all. Usually when there’s a lack of fruit in your life, it’s because of something that you did wrong. Sin, neglect, selfishness, distraction… all play a contributing role in inhibiting spiritual growth, and there are plenty of times when we need to do a lot of hard work to get our lives back where they need to be.

But not always.

So let me take a minute to speak to that faithful believer who serves in the shadows… you, who are not half-hearted or lukewarm…. you, who loves Jesus, who desires to follow Him and do whatever He asks of you… you, who remains steadfast and unswerving… But, you, who also needs some encouragement… because you just don’t see much fruit from your efforts to serve God. You are tired and weary after years of dedication, and as you see the apparent bounty that seems to flow easily from the efforts and ministry of other believers, you can’t help but wonder if there is something wrong with you… something that is perhaps buried so deep that it’s beyond your ability to see.

Here’s my word of encouragement to you, faithful one.

There may not be anything wrong. 

There might not be any buried issues or lack of discipline. There might not be any withering or need for pruning. You may be growing and thriving just as God intended.

Your real need is only to be patient and wait.

For how long? I don’t know. The reality of the Christian life is that sometimes fruit doesn’t appear for a very long time. Or the fruit we’re looking for reveals itself in unexpected forms or in unusual places. Or maybe (and here’s the really difficult truth) it doesn’t reveal itself to us at all in this life.

But that doesn’t mean that your life and ministry isn’t an important, valuable or crucial to God’s plan. So be encouraged! God knows your heart and has not abandoned you. Hang on. Be faithful in the little things. Be confident in God’s promises. Faithfulness always produces fruit. How, when, where and what kind is up to the Master Gardener. In the meantime, rest in the assurance of Galatians 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Yield from a Fully Mature Kiwi Vine
Yield from a Fully Mature Kiwi Vine

 

24 thoughts on “Wait Patiently

  1. I love how we can learn so many lessons from gardening!
    You make a great point here about waiting for the Lord to do His thing. So many of us are doers…I know I am. I just want to do things…to work…until I figure out what the problem is. Sometimes we just need to be still, though, and wait for the Lord to produce the fruit He’s been preparing.
    Thanks for the reminder!

  2. What a wonderful and encouraging word… and it all stems from a kiwi plant. Such edifying words you shared here.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop). I hope you’ll join us again tomorrow!

    Wishing you a lovely evening.
    xoxo

    1. I think we are all like that. Especially in today’s world, we’re conditioned to get immediate responses, however, rarely did that happen in the pages of scripture. Most of God’s blessings came only after very long periods of time when it didn’t seem like anything was happening. Of course, we can’t skip over the pages of our life to see how it ends. We just have to believe that even when it looks like nothing is happening, God is still at work.

  3. I love when God does things like this. Certainly no coincidence you heard that on the radio, and yes, a great word! I’ve struggled with these things many times. It feels like nothing is happening, but patience is required. Thank you, Karen (and thank you for being part of my link up too). 🙂

    1. Patience is so hard. But even in the midst of our struggles to see God work things out, I think He will show Himself to encourage us, if we are looking for Him and not just looking for answers. Thanks Jason!

  4. I love this! I wish more people understood not everyone’s fruit is the same amount as others and little or no fruit at the moment doesn’t always mean there is sin in their life. It pays to wait patiently! As for the kiwi, I didn’t know much about it until today. Thanks Karen for this encouragement and for linking up with Thankful Thursdays.

    1. We equate blessing with “big” when the truth is that God does a whole lot of powerful and significant work with things that happen behind the scenes from faithful workers that get basically no recognition from the world. Hang in there, Lori!

  5. This is a great post. I love seeing spiritual truths in nature, and this is such a clear analogy. It’s incredible to see the photos -from just a few small kiwis to a whole harvest. Encourages me to keep on walking the narrow!! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Love this! Thank you for the reminder of God’s faithfulness. Also, being from the US Midwest I was unfamiliar with how kiwi fruit grows. This analogy is interesting and fitting.

  7. First of all, I didn’t know that kiwi’s grow on vines! But more importantly, this is a great analogy. We all expect to see the amazing things that God is doing in and through us, and sometimes we just need to be patient… and realize there are things we will never know until we get to heaven! thanks for the reminder!

    1. Walk by faith, not by sight. It’s so easy to want to flip that command around, isn’t it? We have to learn to trust what God says is true… even, and maybe especially, when we can’t see it. Thanks for stopping by, Claire!

  8. Karen, I enjoyed following the way your kiwi experience brought you into God’s word. I always enjoy your exceptional vision of taking everyday common activities and relating them to faith. Patience is often rewarding and the path to a stronger trust in God. I have found meditation on God’s truth helps me stay patient. I never fail to gain something valuable from your walk in Christ. Thank you for helping me grow stronger.

    1. Walter. Your words are so encouraging to me. Thanks you for the reminder that rooting ourselves deeply in God’s Holy Word will encourage and strengthen our faith in times where we have difficulty continuing in serving the Lord. Blessings to you and your ministry, friend.

    1. Thanks Amy! I think we all have to constantly be reminded that patience is one of the hardest, but most valuable, virtues necessary in serving God!

  9. Oh…if we only knew what God knows…..we wouldn’t need Him at all then, would we? Really great post, Karen! And those are adorable little kiwis 🙂

    1. I think we will all be so very surprised when we really see how Jesus has woven every life experience together to achieve His great goal! What a day that will be! Thanks Debby!

  10. Oh dear….. Thank you. I almost cried after I read this. The enemy can have a heyday with you when you’re hanging in there but appear to be on the shelf. Bless you.

    I love kiwis!

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