It’s like an apple tree. What does an apple tree do to bear fruit? Well, it sits there and waits. But while it is sitting there it takes in the ingredients it uses to make fruit; water and stuff from the soil, sun and rain from the sky. Then one day, when the time is right, it puts out leaves and begins to develop this chlorophyll that is its food; and it puts out buds and blossoms and bees come along and help with the pollination; and in due time, while the tree is still waiting, the blossoms turn into little, tiny apples. And eventually the apples grow big and ripen and get ready to be picked and eaten.
But here’s the version we would envision if we were comparing most of us to an apple tree. The apple tree gets up every morning and starts worrying about how it is going to bear fruit. It knows there must be fruit down in there somewhere, so it grunts and pushes and strains and gets tired and frustrated and develops ulcers waiting for something to happen; and grunts and pushes, expecting I guess, for the apples to just POP out of the ends of the branches. One day no apples; the next day POP and there are the fully developed fully ripened apples. Just doesn’t work that way, does it?
I may have said this before somewhere, but in Spanish wait and hope are the same word, which is esperar; and sometimes I think trust is all a part of that same feeling; while we’re waiting and hoping, we’re also trusting that God is going to bring it to pass; because there’s not a way in the world that we’re ever going to push hard enough or grunt hard enough to make those apples pop out on our tree. We’ve got to trust that God, by His Spirit, is going to use what He’s put in us to fulfill His purposes in the world. That’s service. And that is the same feeling we need to have when we pray; that “down deep knowing” that God is going to bring it to pass.