Finding fruit

August 14, 2012 — 9 Comments

I was mugged a few weeks ago. As I walked to church on a quiet Sunday morning, enjoying the brilliant blue sky, and the air scented with honeysuckle, and a praise song on my music player, suddenly three young men ran up behind me.


I turned to face them and began to scream. One rushed at me and tried to take my backpack. After a brief but intense struggle on the ground, he managed to get the music player out of my pocket, and the three left.

Yet I’m thankful, very thankful even.

Why?

Naturally, I’m thankful because:

  • they didn’t have knives
  • this country doesn’t allow handguns, at all
  • I wasn’t hurt [except for sore vocal chords from screaming non-stop during the 20 second encounter]
  • they didn’t get my backpack which had money, a camera, and hard-to-replace documents

But what I’m most thankful for is how this experience gave me a chance to see what God has been doing in my life. He’s been growing fruit in me.

The fruit of the Spirit is peace
After the attack, I stood alone on the empty street. On a physical and emotional level, I was shaken and trembling. And yet at the same time, as strange as it sounds, I was experiencing a deep, supernatural peace. In a most amazing way, God’s peace, the kind that passes all understanding, was guarding my heart.

Specifically, I had a strong confidence that God was with me. I was certain I still had the promise of eternal life. I knew I was loved by the One who had given His life to redeem me.

This supernatural peace was all the more remarkable to me because there have been many times when this fruit has been missing from my life. I’ve spent years gripped by life-inhibiting fear and anxiety. I know what it is like to wake up in the middle of the night overcome by panic. I know what terror feels like, even when there is no visible threat.

So to feel peace in the midst of a traumatic event isn’t normal for me. Neither was the calm I felt as I looked helplessly down the street achieved by my own efforts. This peace didn’t come because I finally learned how to will myself to be calm. Rather it was spiritual fruit, produced by the Holy Spirit. The attack was simply an opportunity to harvest it.

Along with peace, I had a sense of God’s protection and presence, so much so that another remarkable fruit appeared: joy. Yes, even as I suffered the unsettling theft, I found myself rejoicing. I knew deep down that nothing could separate me from Him. It truly was awesome to experience the truth of what I’ve read in God’s word.

The miracle of a long faithfulness
In the aftermath of this experience, I’ve renewed my commitment to do what I can so that the Holy Spirit can produce even more spiritual fruit in me.

In John 15, Jesus told us what to do. In the Greek, the word is ‘meno’. It can be translated:
Remain
Abide
Reside

The command to remain in Jesus and His love is so key that He repeated it seven times. Seven times, because He knows my tendency to live for myself. He knows His love doesn’t protect me from storm winds tearing through my world. He knows my attachment to the vine needs constant attention and care.

Each day I have to get past my good girl veneer and let His Spirit enter into the gritty reality of my heart. I continually need to refocus on God, and dwell on His truth and discuss my problems with Him.

It’s the patient journey of ten million steps, being led by the Spirit. And 20 seconds of terror that exposes the fruit He has produced in me.


What about you?
What helps you maintain your attachment to Jesus?
Where do you need to keep in step with the Spirit?

9 responses to Finding fruit

  1. 

    Annie, beautiful story of God’s grace in your life. I find that circumstances like the one you had (although I’ve never been mugged) cause me to give into sloppy thinking. I have to recall God’s truth and allow it to speak a more compelling reality than are the circumstances. There always seems to be the split second where I can choose to get all the-sky-is-falling in my thoughts or I can remember that Christ is reigning. When I choose to remember his reign, I receive the benefits of it…like the ones you’ve described. Isn’t it beautiful how God gives us the chance to see how He is working in our lives? I’m so glad you had the eyes to see it and then shared it with us. Thank you for this encouraging post.

  2. 

    This particular event happened so suddenly, I didn’t have time to think, only to react [or perhaps think super fast!]. But when a crisis happens in normal time, I know what you mean about sloppy thinking. We not only have free will, we have free minds, with the power to choose what to fix them on. Thanks for that beautiful reminder of that!

  3. 

    Oh my, I had chills while reading this. Especially this, “It’s the patient journey of ten million steps, being led by the Spirit. And 20 seconds of terror that exposes the fruit He has produced in me.” What a beautiful testimony of God’s love and provision for us. He is so faithful. I’m glad you are okay…and giving Him praise for it.

    • 

      Thanks for stopping by, Amy. Yes, I’m thankful God is faithful, and that part of that faithfulness is how patient He is with me, and how He stays close, even when I’m prone to wander away.

  4. 

    I think a Glock 9 would have been a nice thing to have ….. just my thoughts thought

  5. 

    Every moment I can decide which world I’m going to live in: the natural or the supernatural? When I have sacrificed my plans for the morning to help my husband with his, only to hear him mutter, “Can never get out on time!” I am tempted into the self-pitying anger of natural feelings. Then I have a split second to choose to go over to His world of release, forgiveness, joy in my giving, regardless of someone else’s response. Lord, help me to choose You in all these moments. Thank you, Annie, for sharing your being in God’s peace. It’s very encouraging.

  6. 

    Tess, so nice to hear from you, and thanks for sharing that wonderful insight. Those split seconds, as Brenda was saying, are great moments where we get to exercise our power to choose.

  7. 

    As you know, I was robbed this summer too. Lost my music player (which was also my alarm clock and e-reader and calendar and address book). Lost my camera. But what was so weird was the peace I had afterwards. It was truly supernatural. I knew God was telling me those things were gone but they were only things, and to be careful how I responded. It was such a strong sensation that it was easy to obey. I knew it would be wrong to worry about temporal things. I didn’t think of it being fruit in my life–more that God was specifically telling me how to respond to this situation–but maybe you’re right about me too :) And I do miss those things. We recently went camping and I longed to take pictures. The kids are back in school and I don’t have an alarm clock. But it’s okay, because bigger things are happening that are much more important.

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