There is a beautiful, massive tree right across my door; I watch this tree through all seasons because, well, it is the first thing I see when I open my front door. About 2 months ago, this tree was bare, with no leaves, flowers or fruit. It looked almost dry. For some reason, this tree still shows good health and life: over the past few weeks, I have seen this tree transform from an all-grey, bare look to a beautifully covered tree with millions of red flowers. I often wonder how trees endure the cold and dry seasons of barrenness but remain rooted in that spot. They still bloom each and every year. Just by being in that one place, trees transform, shed leaves, grow, bloom, and bear fruit. In the same way, you and I should remain rooted in Christ in all seasons, and our heavenly Father will meet our needs.
In John 15: 1-5 (ESV), Jesus uses a picture/visual to explain our relationship with him. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
To abide in Christ is to remain in close relationship with Christ, to be in companionship with him, to remain attached and rooted to Him at all times, so that we can complete the work set before us. A branch should remain attached to the vine or tree in all seasons: in dry, harsh, cold and stormy weather, in warm and wet seasons, the branch must remain on the vine or tree. And God who is the gardener will come by, tending the plant, watering it, feeding it, so that it can grow and bear fruit. Just by remaining in the vine, a branch is taken care of by God. Can you imagine what happens when the branch tries to leave the vine for a little while? It dies and becomes unfruitful. But if it remains on the vine, it can survive, it is taken care of and will definitely bear fruit. God is always watching over us. We have work and a purpose in life – we can achieve so much more with God. Our lives are more restful if we allow God to tend to our needs.
There are times when I had decided to do things on my own because I thought I could totally do it. But so many times I failed dismally. However, God who is ever-gracious to us through Jesus who died on the cross, has come to my rescue every time. For example, when I started working and was earning some money of my own, I thought I could do everything I wanted and probably stop praying for God’s provision of my daily bread. Within 2 weeks, my salary was gone and I was shocked at how that happened. I was humbled to pray for God’s provision through the remaining 2 weeks of that month. We have also suffered great losses in the pandemic but we gained so much more than what we could ever imagine. We learned to relax, the art of doing nothing. We also gained more time with God. Some people have discovered hidden talents; some people are shocked at how they still have a roof over their heads and food on the table every day. Because God knew about this all along, He is still in control and He definitely still encourages us to abide in. He is saying, “Cast all your anxieties on me because I care for you.”
Philippians 4:4-7 urges us to rejoice in Him always and He will give us peace which surpasses all understanding. God is saying to you, “My girl, I’ve got you. Fear not, for I am with you. Look to me and remain in me, in my love, under my wing, and I will take care of you. Lean not on your own understanding but remain in Me. I will make your path straight.”