You are not alone.
This summer I was sitting on the lawn of the small family farm where I help out each week, nursing baby Ezra, when I noticed three spindly trees with sliver shaped leaves. Hanging from the branches were dozens of small, hard orangey fruits. Peaches? I thought. In Maine?
Sure enough, when I asked the farmer, she confirmed my guess.
“Maine is so cold, most people think peaches won’t grow here,” she said. “But look!”
Each tree held hundreds of ripening fruits. Then I noticed the long, pole-like limbs wedged beneath each branch.
“What are those?” I pointed.
“The trees are so small and immature, the peaches will fall off before they are ready or the branches will break, unless we prop them up,” she said.
My life is like those trees. As a Christian, I yearn to bear fruit–sweet, abundant, and full of blessings for others. But I often find myself in a cold, inhospitable environment. My limbs weak. My still-hard fruit in danger of falling to the ground.
Then, when my branches are beginning to snap, God provides braces. He does this through others–a friend who volunteers to babysit, another who donated a computer when mine crashed, yet another who sends a check in the mail “to help out with back-to-school supplies” while my husband was in Uganda. Just enough to keep me slowly working toward the ripening dreams God has placed in my heart.
Never underestimate the good you do when you help others.
This week at the farm, I was harvesting the last of the golden Swiss chard, my knife slicing through firm stalks, when I looked toward those peach trees. Every branch was bare. The now ripened fruit was somewhere within the farmer’s kitchen, ready to be made into sweet jam or tasty pies or served fresh over a bowl of cereal. And I was satisfied. The fruit of my work will someday serve others too–as will yours.
When you see someone struggling with the weight of fruit ripening on their branches, send a card or pick up the phone. Ask, what you can do to make their load lighter. If they have young kids, take them to the library or park. Drop by a meal,clean their house, or run an errand. And never be afraid to ask for help.
Sometimes I am the one needing support, others I am blessed to give it. One day when I look back on my life, I’m convinced I won’t see just my own fruit tree, crooked branches braced by others, but an entire orchard of trees, limbs and leaves stretching beyond sight, all of our interwoven branches supporting each other.
“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ,” Galatians 6:2.
What do you think?