I was at a great informational meeting, (about organic family farming in our area), with my sweet mom-in-love this week when I heard that concept.....
Stretched so that they might bear fruit.
It hit me like a verbal frying pan when I heard the farmer that was speaking say it. There was much deeper meaning that the Lord was speaking to me than shaping young apple trees into a particular position.
As the farmer spoke about the process of stretching the young trees into specific shapes so that they might bear a better harvest of fruit in the future, the Lord began to allow images of the last many years into my mind.
Painful images, sad images, hard images, and current trying images as well. He spoke to me about the process of 'stretching' that is going on in my life. That has been going on since before I even knew Him. He, as the perfect Farmer, has been stretching and pruning and positioning, even re-planting, for years. All because He knows the good fruit he has intended for my life, and for the lives of those around me.
The stretching is so that they might bear fruit.
Then I began to envision the process of the stretching as described by the farmer. The potential braces, wires, tools, and most important of all.... the hands that would be skillfully and purposefully moving and bending the branches.
I thought of the Lord's hands. Nail scarred hands. Hands that have touched the leper, the prostitute, the blind, the hopeless. His Hands.
The Hands of Jesus.
His hands hold the World. His hands knit me together in my mother's womb. The same hands that reach out to the broken, weak, and weary. THOSE hands are shaping me into the exact person that I need to be to bear the fruit that He has had planned since before time.
All the tension.
All the breakage.
All the stretching, and wounding, and healing.....
It's all stretching me into a shape.
Into His Shape.
So that I might bear fruit.