No one likes living in limbo.
In every area of my life right now, I am living “in between.” In between this job and that one. This ministry and the next. Living in limbo, longing to move forward.
I have been pruned—hard. I understand that, accept it. I’ve tried to “cooperate,” grow, and look ahead in anticipation to the promised fruit . . .
But there’s a problem.
I tend to focus on the pain of the pruning cut, then jump to the hope of future fruit. But I forget something important: the long stretch in between–
–the dormant period.
As a dweller of the in-between, I’ve discovered something that has made this long stretch of my Christian walk easier. A spiritual truth God has tucked in a still, unexpected place. Something that stirs the air in this frigid zone and refreshes me. Perhaps it will refresh you, too.
The secret lies in what happens during dormancy. Let’s take a look:
At the end of the fruiting season, a master gardener prunes a vine down to a stub, leaving only a few of the strongest canes. From there he makes a series of strategic cuts just above each live bud that remains. Once severed from the branch’s circulatory system, the buds dry up and a water resistant layer forms on the canes to protect the buds from premature bloom.
This protective layer is vital, for if a bud blooms mid-winter, it will die. Once winter begins, each dormant bud must undergo a minimum chill requirement in order to be “primed” and ready to make new connections to the vascular system in the vine. Only then can it push up and bloom in the spring.
Did you see it? A crucial part of the pruning process involves a prolonged time of interment for each bud.
Consider the connection between how we may feel about our own seasons of limbo and what happens to the bud during this dormant period:
- The bud is isolated from the vascular system – “God has separated me from a living, fruitful ministry . . .”
- The bud is dried up, dehydrated – “I feel barren, worthless, unable to bear fruit for God . . .”
- The bud is coated with a water resistant layer – “I am trapped, held hostage by my circumstances, unable to move forward . . .”
- The bud is prevented from blooming – “Will I ever be fruitful again?”
Has any of this lodged in the hollow of your heart as it has in mine? If so, be encouraged dear friend! This silent stretch, this “dead zone,” is the bridge between the severing cut and the sweet fruit that follows. And we can’t hurry the process–not even a little bit. Our loving, wise God prevents it, for like the bud:
- We too, will perish in the winter chill if our bloom is premature.
- We too, must undergo ” a minimum chill requirement,” a period of dormancy that is cold enough, long enough to prepare us for full bloom in the spring.
And though I don’t fully grasp what it all means, I know I’m there–living it.
Just like you.
In the meantime–in between time–let’s quit struggling and allow God to “prime” our “bud,” and produce eternal fruit for His glory; amidst the chilly stillness of the season; throughout the long dark days of each winter month.
While we anticipate the warmth of the spring sun to awaken us to a whole new season of fruitfulness.
What about you? Which part of the “in between” struggle resonates with you?Photo 1 courtesy of Microsoft Online photo 2 credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/whiteoakart/338883140/”>whiteoakart</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>