“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener.” John 15:1
Let me tell you about an old German legend. It begins with a farming community that had been hit year after year by drought and disaster. Rather than undergo this pruning, for which they could see no possible good, the townspeople came together and had a talk with God. They said, “Lord, our crops have been scanty and skimpy and small. If You have no major objections, and we hope You don’t, we’d like to run the show.”
Now, as the story goes, God who knows best and is always caring, usually doesn’t give in to those kinds of requests. But this time, for reasons of His own, He said, “Okay, I’ll let you take control—for a year.” And that’s just what happened. If the villagers wanted rain, they got rain. If they wanted sun, they got sun. That year the crop grew bigger and thicker than it had ever grown before. But there was no harvest that year. None at all.
Once again, the people complained. And God said, “You got what you asked for. But you didn’t ask for what you needed. My children, along with the sun and the rain, you also need the hard winds that come out of the north. Without those winds, the plants do not pollinate and you get no crop.”
Imagine, if you will, you were speaking to God like that German village. What would you ask the Lord to remove from your life? Are you plagued by some sadness, suffering, or struggle? Does it seem that there is no purpose to your problems other than to cause some sort of unexplainable annoyance?
If that is the case, I encourage you to consider these two things: First, learn from the German village. Although we humans think we know what is best for us, our vision into the future is extremely limited. We, with our nearsighted boundaries, are not able to see how all things can work together for good to those who are called to the Lord’s purpose (Romans 8:28).
Second, learn from the Savior. As He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane, as He carried our sins, as He looked to the cross, Jesus asked if it were possible for His cup of suffering to be taken away. Jesus had no great desire to go through the intense agony that awaited Him. Nevertheless, He was willing to place His life into the Father’s hands. That is what we, who have been saved, need to do— ask the Father to use our lives according to His will, for the greater good.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on May 18, 2003
THE PRAYER: Gracious Lord, may the power of your Holy Spirit guide and direct me to serve you in your Kingdom today. Please use my life according to Your will, for the greater good. Amen.