I live in Nova Scotia, on Cape Breton Island, with the ocean in my back yard. This means beauty, awesomeness, and excitement, but it also means sea breezes, gales, and hurricanes, and because of this very reason, there is a story about an apple tree in my back yard that built its own defense. Because of the exposure to the sea storms, the apple tree had a hard time bearing fruit, so it used most of its limbs on the windy side to build a shield against the storms. Those limbs did not bear fruit. Then, it grew a few limbs on the wind-protected side of the tree. Those limbs blossomed and bore fruit. Year after year, we have watched the crooked old apple tree only bear fruit on one side.
HERE ON EARTH, YOU WILL HAVE MANY TRIALS AND SORROWS
Precious Child, here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows—storms of life that will come against you. You will be tempted to build your own defense mechanisms: shelters to cover your heart against pain…shields to ward off the accusations from blamers…barricades to keep yourself safe from gossip. You might be so busy building walls of defense that there is no energy left to bear fruit.
BUT TAKE HEART, BECAUSE I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD
Take heart, Child. I, Jesus, your Savior, have overcome the world. Do not be sidetracked when you discover a storm raging towards you. Do not hide. Do not run away. Do not blame. Instead, stay where you are and embrace the storm. Expose the beliefs of your pain-filled heart to Me. Submit the trials and sorrows that the gossip and accusations cause, to Me. Accept Me as your defense against abandonment, shame, and rejection, so you may bear fruit…on all sides.
‘AND I WILL REBUKE THE DEVOURER FOR YOUR SAKES, SO THAT HE WILL NOT DESTROY THE FRUIT OF YOUR GROUND, NOR SHALL THE VINE FAIL TO BEAR FRUIT FOR YOU IN THE FIELD’, SAYS THE LORD OF HOSTS
What mechanisms of defense have you built against the storms in your life—techniques that have kept you from bearing fruit?
What will it take for you to make the Lord Jesus your method of defense, so that you do not have to use your own energy to create a defense mechanism against your enemies? Know that, if you ask Him, the Lord God will rebuke the devourers for your sake, so they will stop destroying your fruit.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, become my Defense…my Protection against the storms…my Safeguard against the father-of-lies. Rebuke the devourers for my sake, so that they would not destroy my fruit. Hallowed be Your blessed Name!
Maintain an Awareness
Understand that HOPE needs to come to you through your heart. Therefore, you need to CONNECT with your heart and find the places of sorrow, despair, fear, disappointment, bitterness, and anger that reside there.