John 15:5 – 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. (NIV)
Waiting with a woman I met through the Daily, I listened to her vent and tell of the suffering she and her family were going through, watching their son's life slowly ebb away, and eventually give way to death. I am well aware of this kind of turmoil in our own family as we all deal with illness. Just in the past year I had to watch with my husband, as he spent three weeks in hospital.
How does God prepare us for these times?
God has been working in me for some time. Why? Because! God has been slowly pruning away the branches in my life, that, in days of sunlight, the fruit of the vine might be nourished within me, and might grow to produce more fruit.
John 15:1-2 – I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (NIV)
The suffering in our lives is but a part of the preparation for the joy we have to look forward to, both here and in eternity. Meanwhile, we must strive to do the will of the Father, keeping in mind that, as we grow in God, we may suffer for a little while. The confusion of the mind and the weakening of the physical body leave the door open for Satan! But in giving thanks to God in all circumstances, we can overcome the satanic attacks and return to a somewhat normal life within.
As believers, we know that we are branches of the true vine. Why? Because! God works in our lives by testing and trying us, that we might have a more abundant life.
Though trials become almost overwhelming, if we would but keep the faith, dwell in Him, and be patient, He will use us to produce fruit that will grow deep within, and produce that which God has planned for us.
Prayer: God, be with us in our times of trial. You are the true vine and we are the branches. Help us when You are working to prune and shape us to do the work You have for us to do. For it is in and through You that we will produce that which is in your plan. God, keep us close to You as we strive to serve You. To You be all the honour and the glory. We praise You, thanking You in Jesus' name. Amen.