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Doug Creamer column: Enjoying the fruit

Vegetable gardeners have numerous reasons for enjoying their hobby. It’s wonderful to work the soil, plant the seeds, and watch the new seedlings emerge from the soil. Every part of the planting and growing process is enjoyable. Every fruit or vegetable gardener loves harvest time.
There is nothing like the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables right out of the garden. When you can go and pull some corn and have it piping hot on the table within 15 minutes you would think you had died and gone to heaven. I sometimes get impatient waiting for the first tomatoes to come in. We can eat BLTs three nights a week in the summer and I am a happy gardener.
When gardeners harvest their crops it’s a reward for all the hard work. If you till the soil and do all the hard work, then I believe you deserve the reward. Bringing the fresh fruits and vegetables in to enjoy is a reward that always satisfies.
I believe these same principles apply to our spiritual lives. In particular, I believe that many of the prayers we offer to God often take a long time until we get to see the fruit. Sometimes the things that we want to pray for are not the kinds of things that God moves on quickly to answer. Many of the bigger things we pray for require dedicated prayer time before we will see the fruit of our efforts.
I have a friend who was walking through a very difficult time in his life. Nothing was going to rush the events that had to take place before it came to an end. It was difficult to wait and watch my friend go through this whole process. But the good news is that God really does listen to and answer our prayers. This week we saw a great victory that brought joy to his family and friends.
A number of years ago I injured my knee. It was messed up for quite a while, but eventually it healed. Ever since then I have felt pain in that joint. I began to believe that arthritis was going to settle in. One day this week I was driving home from work and I began to pray about that knee. I asked God to lift that pain. I have to admit that nothing happened immediately, but I noticed later that day that I wasn’t having any pain in that knee anymore. It feels great and I hope the pain never comes back.
I wonder why the church has stopped believing in miracles. I have been fortunate to be in the room on several occasions when God did a miraculous work in someone’s life, including physical healings. Why don’t we ask God to heal miraculously? I have often told people I know that if I am injured badly I want one person picking up their cell phone and dialing 911 while the rest of them gather around me and pray for healing. I want to give God the chance.
The trouble in most cases, I believe, comes down to persistence. We live in an instant society. We want everything now. We don’t like to wait. Many things that happen in the kingdom of God occur because men and women have spent many hours in prayer. Prayer is the hard work of tilling the soil and preparing the ground for the answer. Prayer is the hard work that prepares the heart and mind for the will of God. Prayer is the sweat that we hope will bring us the reward of victory.
A picture came to my mind during worship Sunday: a big apple tree laden with fruit. I asked the Lord about what I was seeing. He said that it was the fruit of my prayers, ripe and ready for harvest. Sometimes we do not realize the potential harvest that could come from the hard work of quietly and persistently praying.
I believe that many of you are close to a spiritual harvest if you will just continue to be persistent for the things your heart desires. I want to encourage you to press on, to not give up, and to believe that God wants to give you the desires of your heart. We serve an awesome and loving God who deeply desires to bless your life. So persevere so you can enjoy the fruit of your labor.
Doug Creamer teaches marketing at East Davidson High School. You can e-mail him at doug@dougcreamer.com

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