Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
John 15: 5-6
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
I'm sitting here on my porch steps staring at long green succulent stalks of plants that should have an array of colorful blooms, yet is merely...green. They appear healthy but have no flowers on them.
Where are the blooms?
I did some research and found from “The Spruce” some top reasons why a flowering plant won’t bloom. The site suggest the plants need fertilizers, they were pruned at the wrong time, they are too young (new plant), they need sun, or it they have suffered some winter damage.
I can’t help but think of our spiritual life like that.
We have a source of nourishment that comes from our relationship with God that prunes us, fertilizes us, bathes us in sonshine and grows us to maturity, if we but abide in the branch.
But what do you do in when you find you’ve suffered damage from a spiritual winter?
My winter typically comes from circumstances that don’t work out like I hoped, trials that I can’t navigate on my own, or difficult people that seem one thing but act quiet another. Those things can leave me bending over under the weight. I find I’m left living in the tension of “God’s promises are true” and “I am so frustrated because this is hard”. Those two realities can hold hands most of the time, but when they don’t, I find myself fighting off the damage.
If I’m not intentional I can become frustrated and break myself off of the vine, the one and only place I can thrive and bloom. Oh I might look green and healthy on the outside, but the places where I should display color and beauty only blends into blandness. After all, I am a branch and can’t be a healthy plant on my own. I was made to bloom. When I can’t, there’s a problem.
I’m so glad that God bears all the responsibility to feed me as a branch. But in return, I bear the responsibility to be plugged into him as a vine. That connection has to be built on trust, no matter what appears to be going on around me. If I don’t, I won’t bloom like I was made to do.
Habakkuk understood that what happens around us does not mean God is not at work, nor does it mean good isn’t coming as a result. We have to lean in and deliberately trust that he has it and that he will eventually put us in a place of safety.
Friends, are you pulling away from the vine or running towards it? Have you recognized a lack of blooming due to trials and winter damage? Do what you need to, trust him, bathe in the sonshine and be fed from your heavenly father. It’s so worth it.