Ah, patience. Patience is definitely a virtue and a characteristic of God. Let’s begin by continuing the Vine and fruit analogy. We can all agree that gardening is not a rushed or speedy process. Even something as simple as pulling weeds requires patience as if you move too quickly, you’ll disrupt the good growth by removing the bad. Out of curiosity, I searched online to see how long it takes to grow a successful vineyard. Here’s one response from Wine Spectator, emphasis mine.
‘Grapevines are typically planted in the spring, and as much as they might grow that season, it’s unlikely that they will yield grapes by harvesttime. The following year, a grapegrower can expect to see a lot of growth and some grapes, but that first crop of fruit usually consists of very small, sour berries that aren’t suitable for making wine. But by the third harvest, growers can expect to get a proper yield of wine grapes. In winemaker lingo, each growing season is nicknamed a “leaf.” So a grapevine will be ready to produce grapes for wine by the “third leaf.”
But not everyone makes wine with that first successful harvest. Some wineries won’t use grapes from vines younger than a decade or even older for their top wines, and until then the grapes are used to make lesser wines or sold to other wineries.
I realize lots have changed in our world since Bibles time, but I doubt the time it takes to grow good fruit has quickened that much. So when the Lord Jesus says He is the Vine and we are branches, remaining in Him to bear fruit, I don’t think He means one and done! Producing patience and living in the freedom of His timing is not a quick and process. But praise the Lord that He is so very patient with us! And His patience with us is a gift and example for His glory!
I’m currently going through another Bible study about the Trinity. It’s meaty and full of powerful truth yet a challenge to fully understand and process. It’s been reminding me how patient the Father is with me as I dig deep and seek Him. The Spirit reveals His truth and love as well as my idols and misunderstandings. I have to laugh at the lies I’ve believed over the years as well as the pride I’ve let creep up as a leader. Thank you, Lord, for your continued patience with me and desire to see me bear fruit and bloom each season.
While I love a good analogy as much as the next person, the patience we’re talking about here is more in regards to people rather than things. While we have to be patient when it comes to gardening, waiting on answers to prayers, or any other aspect of our purposed timeline, true patience comes in the form of being patient with other people. I know, I know . . . that’s even harder! Ha!
Beth Moore states, ‘Patience is inspired by mercy, devoid of condemnation, and evidence of the presence and power of our Holy God.’ So producing patience is often reflected in our inaction, our ability to pause, breath and bite our tongue, our pursuit of prayer, praise, and forgiveness, and in our belief that everyone is doing the best they can. And there are times we need to zoom out and see the picture of what He’s doing so we can zoom back in with more love, joy, peace, and patience (and kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.) Also, we must, must, must be patience with ourselves! Progress and growth come little by little, which actually produces sustainable fruit.
I have found great comfort over the years in this quote – ‘God is never in a hurry but He is always on time.’ And I believe it’s how we handle the waiting that can bear the most fruit! So as you wait, show mercy, forgive, be real, cry out, hope, repent, restore, reach out, and be still before the Lord! That’s how we burn bright, better together!
Oh, Lord, thank you for being so patient with us!
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Colossians 1:9-14 NIV