Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fruit in the Middle of the Night

My prego body woke me up several times last night. It was lonely and wanted somebody to talk to. I would like to think I am nice and somewhat accommodating, so I sat up with my body and we chatted.

My brain was going a million miles an hour, and no matter how many times I rolled back and forth, I couldn't sleep. My body told me I should read something to help me feel more tired. So, I grappled for the lamp's on switch and fried my poor retinas.

On my night stand, with the offending lamp, are my scriptures. I love reading them in the morning before the kids get up, and was in a pretty good routine and then last week I got off track. So, I reached for them and pulled them into my bed. I love them! Not only for what is inside, but also because they were a gift from Mom when I turned eight. They have been through a lot, and are a little care-worn, but I love them the more so because they have experienced life. It's fun to go through them and see what I thought eons ago when I brought them to seminary, or to read through the underlined passages and remember what I was feeling or going through when I underlined them.

Part of my efforts with my study is to make a thorough trek through the Old and New Testament. I did it in high school, and perhaps I am taking more interest in them because of the wealth of knowledge that Dad has managed to wring from them over the years. Yes, I admit it. I have gospel knowledge envy.

It has been enlightening to read through the ancient prophets, and then to zoom forward centuries and read the Savior's teachings, and then zoom back into the ancient Americas, and then fast forward to the restoration of the gospel. It has amazed me again and again how they are intertwined, almost inseparable, and how they become deeper in meaning when you have greater insight into the will and power of God.

This morning, at 5:30 AM, I read through some Leviticus, and later in Nephi and the Doctrine and Covenants. I find Leviticus a tad perplexing at times, but wade my way through, reaching back into the distant crevices of my mind to what I learned from teachers years ago. I have read the Book of Mormon many times, and I am trying not to just bounce lightly over the top of the verses, but make them more meaningful. The Doctrine and Covenants holds a vast amount of truth and light that I have, for some reason, neglected.

I truly enjoy reading the word of God. And this morning, by listening to whatever it was that was speaking to me, I was rewarded with a truly priceless jewel.

I was reading in John 15 (like I said, I haven't read through the entire New Testament since high school, and as a result have read Matthew multiple times, but scarcely have ventured past his gospel into Mark, or Luke, much less John. Hooray for me!). In verse two, the Savior says this:

"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he (referring to God) taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."

My mind immediately turned to think of God's faithful servants everywhere. They bring forth excellent fruit, serving faithfully, and God sees fit to try them at times, that by so doing they may produce even greater things, and draw closer to him.

It alarmed me a little--and I wondered if it was a message of things which are to come, or a reminder of what things have been. I saw the goodness of God and his love for his children, and why these things must be. But, I thought to myself, what must those trials be? And if I am faithful, surely I must be "purged," perhaps many times.

Looking back, I recalled those refining times, and how in the end, I was grateful for it, and better for it. It made me think of the blessing I received from a Patriarch years ago that said I would not suffer anything that would not bless me. I sometimes look sideways at that, wondering what I will suffer, and how much, and what I will lose. And then I think that I have to, I must, trust in God and have faith that no matter what may befall me, God is the Husbandman who tenderly and lovingly prunes his garden, and he knows best which parts must be purged, and what fruits must be gathered.
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