I borrowed the title of today’s blog from a message I heard on the importance of recognizing and cooperating with the different seasons in our lives. I think it’s an important topic, because seasons are appointed. We can’t exactly skip past one and jump into another, just because it’s more preferable. In each season of our lives and our growth in God, there are certain things built in; things which need to take place in order for the next thing to take place. When we learn to recognize and cooperate with the season we are in, beautiful things emerge.
I have a lemon tree in my front yard. It’s a dwarf lemon tree, a term which is lost on me. I am agriculturally ignorant, and tend to kill everything I touch. I do not have the proverbial green thumb. But I do have a neighbor who does landscaping, and he helps me not to kill my little tree. However, as I’ve watched this tree for the past 3 years, I’ve realized that growing fruit is a process that requires much patience.
At first, my tree shot out a few little lemons. In truth, because I have no idea what kind of potential it carries for yielding fruit, I was quite happy with those few lemons. The kids and I made enough lemonade to enjoy for an afternoon, and we had a couple of lemons left over to use for our tuna melts. Since then, I’ve been lucky to pull 3 lemons off that tree that weren’t mostly green. And, although it is a beautiful tree – full of dark green leaves and pretty little blossoms, there have been very few of those blossoms that have grown into fruit.
Until recently. I don’t know how old the tree was when I got it. But it has taken it more than three years to finally do what it was created to do. In the past couple of months, my little tree has birthed what looks like more than a hundred lemons! Still, as many lemons as they are, they’re still green, and unable to be enjoyed. To be truthful, I’m a little bit anxious and impatient for this process to be finished. I want my lemonade!
There are at least a couple of lessons I’ve learned from this gardening endeavor. The first is that God is so patient with us, in our growth. No one goes from being a newborn in Christ to bearing fruit. There is always a painstaking process attached to growth. And so often, when we are willing to trade a flower in for the fruit He has planted within us, His wisdom slows us down. How quick we are, as humans in such a hurry, to see just a little bit of growth and squeeze out every drop of it, as if it were the whole harvest…when God has so much more in mind!
Maybe I’m just speaking for myself, but I’ve been so anxious to reach my destiny that I have, many times, been willing to forsake the promised fruit if only God would allow my little blossom to bloom in a certain opportunity. I want so much to release the fragrance of Heaven that I am often willing to trade the essence of a little blossom for the whole bouquet, because I can’t see that there’s more. I can’t see the full vision God has for my life, and so I am ever willing to lay it all on the line at the first sign of a new bud, when God is aiming for the fruit that will come from waiting and trusting.
Another thing I’ve learned is that there is nothing I can do to make fruit grow faster, except to cooperate with what it needs. If I want my lemons to ripen, I have to water them regularly, and trust the sunlight to do its job. If I want the fruit of my life to grow, all I can do is spend time with the Holy Spirit and trust Jesus to do His job of maturing me as I wait.
There is no substitute for the fruit that has undergone its process and come out ripe and ready to be picked and enjoyed. Any efforts made to hasten the process end up producing something less than originally intended. And sadly, when we alter a growth process, we often don’t even know what we’re missing, because we’ve learned to settle for less, just because it’s more immediate.
Dear Woman of Breakthrough, though your life may be beginning to blossom, don’t rush the process of growth God has built into your development. Don’t trade a moment of beauty for a field of His dreams for you. I pray today that you would have the grace to wait for Him, as He tends to you. He is a Master Gardener. He knows what He is doing, and He knows just what you need at every stage of your growth. He will not neglect you, nor forget about you.
Wait patiently for the Lord, Dear Woman of Breakthrough. Seek His wisdom to discover what season you are in, and ask Him to help you cooperate with what is required in that season. We will sprout, bud, blossom, and produce fruit many times in our lives, in each new territory we step into. So we must not grow weary with this God-ordained process. He is ever and always watchful and active, intending that we would become all He has put within us. Cooperating with Him in our seasons is a beautiful way to bring Him glory, and to discover the deepest satisfaction of a life firmly rooted and bearing fruit in Him.