I suppose it is a bit odd to be talking about fruit right now. Everything fruit-bearing in the garden is heading toward a deep winter sleep, the time of production long past. But I came across a quote that brought me into contemplation about fruit.
Fruit is a pretty common metaphor. I mean, my goodness! The apple has had a bad rap for millennia due to being assumed to be the culprit in the loss of our paradisiacal home. But there is also the fruit of the womb, the fruit of the loom, the fruit of our labor, the fruit of their way, the fruit of the spirit and, alas and here we land--the fruit of affliction.
I won't suffer to expound on how and why we experience affliction. This is ground covered by many people more talented and insightful than I. What is important is the fruit of the affliction. What fruit will grow from our afflictions, and what will we do with it...?
In the section on the book of Ruth in A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, John Trapp states:
"Many are humbled, but not humble; low, but not lowly.
These have lost the fruit of their afflictions … and are therefore most miserable."
To suffer afflictions, and then lose the benefits of such suffering...what a colossal waste! It is like the old saying that if we don't learn our lesson the first time, we will have to go around the same mountain again. Except it's not. Because the fruit of afflictions does not just teach us a lesson. It creates in us a new paradigm, a holier way of being, a clearer vision of our standing before the Lord. I would not want to miss out on any of that.
Am I therefore looking for afflictions? Certainly not! But if they come...no, when they come...I hope I will allow them to do their work in me.
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