But Does It Bear Fruit?

Yesterday my friend Makyna sent me a podcast from Jonathan David and Melissa Helser called “The Humanity of Jesus,” insisting I had to give it a listen. Six minutes in, I was already crying. (And I’m really not much of a crier. Or a podcast listener.)

Melissa shared her experience with chronic illness and how she struggled to accept that God wasn’t healing her when she knew he could, when she knew he was a loving God. A friend of hers asked one simple question about her season:

Is this season of your life producing fruit?

Wow. Talk about a perspective-shifter.

I’ll be honest: I don’t always have a Pollyanna-like attitude about the season I’m in. I have a good life, but it’s not the one I would have chosen, and sometimes that’s hard to accept. My season is not incredibly impressive by the world’s standards: I’m single in my 30s, I don’t have a sought-after career or make a lot of money, and I live in my parents’ basement.

But I know I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing in this season. I’m being obedient to God in the best way I know how, even when sometimes I’d rather not.

Is it glamorous? Not usually. It is enviable? No, I don’t think most people would say so.

But does it bear fruit? Absolutely.

The toughest seasons are always the best breeding grounds for the fruits of the spirit, specifically, and this is what Melissa talked about in her podcast. But even beyond that, I think of all the opportunities my difficult seasons have given me:

  • Because I’ve had my own chronic illness, I can empathize with and encourage others who are walking through theirs.
  • Because I’ve experienced betrayal and rejection and heartbreak, I can console others who are going through the same things, reassure them of their value, and help them avoid some of the tears I’ve cried.
  • Because I struggled to grow my relationship with God and learn how to hear his voice for a long time, I can tell others they’re not the only ones who feel like they’re lacking in that area, and I can share with them what has helped me.
  • Because I didn’t know who I was for a long time or understand what my purpose might be, I can help others discover their God-given identity and purpose.

Here’s the truth I sometimes don’t like to admit: if I had gotten married and had four or five kids by now like I probably would have chosen, I would’ve missed out on a whole lot of opportunities to plant seeds and bear fruit in other areas of my life.

Does my life bear as much fruit as I’d like it to? Nope! I wish I could wake up every day to report after report of amazing harvests that have come from the little seeds I’ve sown. That has not been my experience. But I believe with my whole heart that each one of us plants more seeds than we know, and each one of us bears more fruit than we realize. As believers, if we’re being obedient to Christ, we’re always planting seeds; we just don’t always recognize it or understand the impact.

I think of the people I’ve been able to unexpectedly encourage because of my own struggles. The ones I’ve been able to tell “I’ve been there, too.” The three-year-old I nanny for who starts singing worship songs that I’ve played without realizing she was paying attention.

The seeds I plant might not always be big seeds, but they’re seeds. And they bear fruit.

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.

Luke 16:10a

My current season might not have been my first choice in seasons, but it’s fruitful. And therefore it is not a waste. There is purpose in this season, just like there is purpose in every season.

If you are faithful in your unwished-for seasons, how much more will your harvest be in your seasons of promise? You might be in a season you never asked for, but if it’s producing fruit, it is not wasted for one single second.

So…is this season of your life producing fruit?

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