“Though there be no fruit on the vine …”

Many years ago, I felt God impress upon my heart my life verse: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.  

I had no idea then, what God had for me in this verse. Even today, I yearn to grasp the depths of all it means. “What are You saying, Lord, at times like these?”

“What is Your will for me?” “What is Your will for me?” “What is Your will for me?

And He responds, continually, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks …” I had no clue, back then, how very, very difficult these three things would prove to be.

“How can I rejoice in this?” “There’s no way I can pray!” “I refuse to give thanks in this!” Over and over, God allows me to see what’s inside of me. And, quite frankly, it ain’t pretty!

But Jesus. He loves me. He’s gentle. He’s patient. He’s kind and full of compassion. He hears my yelling and faithless thoughts. He sees my fret and knows my every thought.

How can God be so great and mighty as that? To still love me – even after my words and actions and … yes, being a brat!

There is no One like God on this earth.

But, wait.

He reached out from on high when I was in the depth of a pit. He pulled me out of great darkness and I could see, finally, the love in His eyes.

“Receive My love?” I felt Him ask of me.”

“I do, Lord. Come and live in my heart. Restore my soul. O God, don’t let go.”

Now, He abides in me. I’m simply a branch of His Vine. He is mine. He is mine. 

“No matter what you might go through, my child, I am here. And these words are your fortress and refuge. These words are your Rock that you might not slip or drown in sorrow or fear. I am the LORD, and this is my will you.”

“I see the conflicts press hard form the outside. I see the fear that entangles and grips at your very breath. I know the loss, the pain. I know death.”

“This is hard, this is dark, this is excruciating, I know. I am the LORD. I have gone before, I will carry you through. Keep your eyes on me, through this most difficult test, My Word is your life, yes, this is what you are to do: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks;” 

I will show you success and help you focus your mind, that you might be victorious one step at a time. Study my Word. Sing the Psalms in your heart. Gain wisdom and understanding, ask of Me and I will give.”

Do you believe … even in this? that I am Yours.  I care for you … now, rest.”

My life verse gives me instant direction. Will I scoff, or will I take the instruction? My response has already been written. I will sing it from my heart to my Chief Musician:

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.

 The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Habakkuk 3:17-19. In response to my life verse, no matter what happens – this I pray will be my response. Continually. And with my Love, I will abide for all eternity!

 

 

 

 

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Author: tonirypkema

Wife to 1, mother of 11, daughter of 1. "The most amazing woman in the world." -Jared (son)

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