John 15:4 – Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (KJV)
A small century-old abandoned church was tucked in a corner of a field, partially surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. There was no road leading to it, no welcoming signs, yet I felt drawn to it.
Although its grey metal roof was intact, the rest of the building had deteriorated considerably. No longer did it have the appearance of a holy place. The traditional symbols of a cross and steeple were missing. At one time, stained glass windows had reflected rays of colourful light beams onto the warm wooden floors, but now weathered boards blocked the sunlight. I walked through the tall grass along one wall, fingering the crumbling bricks. Disappointment filled me as I approached the front of the church. The narrow wooden doors were secured by rusty nails and guarded by an overgrown cedar bush. I continued my search around to the other side and peeked through the cracks of the window boards. Darkness greeted me. Singing and rejoicing, once heard, had vanished, along with the Holy Spirit.
I thought about how we become as empty shells when we abandon God. Nails of anger and hurt bind the doors of our hearts when we are overcome by problems and worldly concerns. Life then turns into a burden too great for us to carry. Our hopes crumble under pressure, and faith deteriorates. No matter the size of our house nor the greatness of it, we cannot flourish without God. He has asked us to stay with Him and has promised never to forsake us so that we might bear fruit.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your love that nourishes us. Help us to abide in You that we may grow and produce the fruit You long to see. Amen.