The Fruit of Faith (1): Never Turn Back

In my last post I spoke about a game changing day in the realm of evangelism. Well that day was so fierce that there was so much to tell that couldn’t all fit into one good post. This portion of the day wasn’t evangelistic but still memorable and significant. Maybe its just me and the way the Lord makes my mind look at things, but moments of obvious clarity as this are hard to come by. Later that Sunday, I discussed in “Fighting Fear – The Game Changer,” My family, some friends, and I had the 3rd annual priviledge of a trip to Apple Holler.

If you don’t already know, Apple Holler is a large apple picking orchard in Sturtevant WI just outside of Kenosha. It is usually a seriously fun-filled romp from tree to tree. However, this year there was a different tone to the trip.

Due to frost and other issues that God worked out through nature, there was a struggling apple crop. The apples had mostly been destroyed and those that had survived had been picked and placed in baskets amongst the orchard. For those arriving at the orchard to pick out all sorts of fabulous apples, there wasn’t much of a problem. This meant easy selection and very little effort. But for those, like most in my party, who arrive for the joy of going through and perusing the trees, the thrill of finding just the right apple amongst the group, the rush of eating it straight off the tree…that had seemed to be taken from us. Upon this discovery, I had a little talk with Leila about what makes the trip fun. We determined that the fun of the trip was just being able to be with family and friends. Apples were just a bonus. If I’m being honest, I was a little bummed that prospects were low and it was literally, “slim pickings.” Most of the folks there were gathered around the baskets filling their bags up from the mounds of pre-selected fruit. We joined them for a few, but something abut huddling around a basket of apples made me feel like the Jewel produce section would have been a smarter choice, because not only had that excitement been removed but many of the apples in the bunch showed damage from the conditions.

As I felt my mood shifting for the worse, I determined that I would own my emotion and we traveled on to the trees with a dangerously low hope level of finding some decent apples left on branches. Row after row, all that remained was rotten, worm-filled, or scarred apples. I reached the rows of my favorite apple, The Empire. As Leila, our friend Angie, and I walked through the empty rows, Gloria and Lariza staying out in the main path desiring not to waste energy, we were continually met with disappointment. Then we reached the halfway point of the last row of Empires. 😦 It was not looking good. We had just passed about a dozen or so empty trees and it happened. This was that moment that inspiration happens. That moment when you sense destiny testing you. We looked ahead at what looked like empty tree after empty tree and then we all looked at each other.

“Should we go back?”

Angie was ready to turn back but willing to go as the group wished.

Leila was, at this point, just along for the ride and having fun.

It was up to me then. As I felt tested I decided to look to the Lord and asked God to stretch my faith today. I know this sounds overly dramatic for an apple orchard, but I love to watch how God works in ordinary mundane situations and creates FAITH.

I turned to Angie and Leila and I said, “Let’s do this. This is a moment when most people would turn back. Everything we see says there are no more apples. You are wasting your time, but I say, We are going to find the biggest and best apples out there.”

It was probably less Braveheart-esque than that but it felt like a face painted speech type moment in my heart. 🙂

Then the walk began. Honestly, now that I had put us out there like that I was a little embarrased as tree after tree continued to be bare. We almost stopped and turned around again, but we chose to not be defeated. Pressed on and then 5 trees left, 4 trees left, 3, 2, and BAM. Two trees from the last in the row of Empire apples we found pay dirt. It was a glorious moment. It was not that we found an apple but we found a great bunch of apples and in a peculiar cross shaped pattern at the highest point of the tree. Now we had walked with faith to get to this promise, but now we had to receive it. Faith can only get you so far. At some point you will need to apply action. I could now stop and pray the apples down to our level, so with the next generation standing on my shoulders we one by one pulled those apples down. Angie collected them as they fell and we all joyfully sweat our way to victory. The lessons of this were great.

I am so blessed that Leila was there to share in this faith moment. These are the memories that we as people need to build a legacy of faith. I’m so glad that Leila gets to build those young.

  • With faith lead your party to what God has called you to
  • Lift up the next generation to receive the promise
  • Don’t turn back when most would. Keep pressing forward
  • You can’t just pray for apples, you’ll have to climb into the tree at some point
  • Even when you can’t see the fruit, walk in hopeful faith that it is there

This is the real fruit of faith.

I can’t wait to tell you guys about what we did with those apples. It is not as delicious a story as you think, but I’m sure it will be fruitful.

Until then, maybe you have some insight to share. Why not guest blog on my site? If you’d be interested in blogging on your walk on the edge of clarity, email me at armansheffey@gmail.com.

Be blessed and be a blessing.

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