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I sat on a beautiful porch in Florida, changed forever after returning from a mission trip in Nicaragua. My team and I sat in a circle for a debriefing session before we parted ways and returned to our respective campuses for the rest of the spring semester. As we have done so many times over the past week, we opened our Bibles to pray Lectio Divina together.
This passage filled my mind with images of vines and branches drenched in the light of Christ. Prior to my time in Nicaragua, it was just another lovely parable. Now, I read it with a new perspective. I experienced Jesus working through me as I served as an instrument of His love. I imagined myself beautifully intertwined with Him like twisting and turning vines overtaking a sturdy branch.
Jesus nestled the word abide into my heart. This beautiful word brought a smile to my face when I discussed it during Lectio Divina. It truly describes Jesus’ desire to dwell with us and be close to us, and I began to joyfully feel the same way. I eagerly wanted Him to help me grow, to bear fruit for Him, and for Him to prune me so that I’ll bear more fruit.
“Pruning hurts though,” Becca lovingly pointed out. Wrapped up in consolation, the difficulties of discipleship didn’t cross my mind. As I continued my journey with Jesus throughout college, He began the pruning process, holding nothing back. Knowing that I desired a relationship with Him, holiness, and Sainthood, He strengthened me with trial after trial.
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Although I didn’t always endure the pruning gracefully, I know that it happened for a reason. He helped me bear more fruit because I longed to abide in Him. I wouldn’t trade the pain of pruning for anything because it’s the price I pay for abiding with Jesus, and apart from Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5).
Let’s strive to be as close to Jesus as a vine is to the branch. Let’s abide with Him and let Him wrap Himself around every part of us.
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