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But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. Romans 11:17-18

Grafting is something relatively unknown among the general public in the West nowadays, outside the rare tree lover and orchard caretaker. But there are things to realize about the process which creates a revealing metaphor about the heart of the Father.

Trees can be grown from seed, but it will take up to 10 years to know if that seed will produce good fruit. If not, it may be grafted. Most people know the basic concept of grafting, to take a branch and tie it to a good root so that the branch will bear its own fruit. But the process is slightly more complex. First, no gardener will graft  a bad branch to a good root, or vice versa. Most often, the root is strong, but bearing a fruit which may be weak, bitter, or otherwise not what the gardener has intended. It is cut down, leaving the good root but making way for the scion.

Selection of a scion is done in the dormant season, when the plant is growing least but ready to produce new growth once the weather warms. It is removed from it's life source (the tree), and kept in a cold, dark place in order to remain viable. The growth cannot be allowed to continue, or it will ruin the graft. The scion must have the potential to grow, but its growth is intentionally stifled for a season in order to complete the process for which the gardener has prepared.

Note that neither the root nor the scion has any say in this, the process is defined by the season and by the will of the gardener alone. Both must await their proper season to begin to grow, and neither can do so without the gardener.

Once Spring has come in full force, and the root is beginning to run its sap, it is time to prepare the actual graft. Both pieces are cut to a match, and must be perfectly assembled and sealed by the gardener. It is only then that the scion can cease its dormancy and begin anew to grow, bringing forth the fruit that the gardener has chosen.

How does this fit in Christian life? We need only look at the lives of the forefathers to see this concept in action. Moses lived in Midian for 40 years as a shepherd before God gave him his charge, Abraham waited 80 years for his promise, and David spent much of his life being hunted by the king he was to replace. Even Jesus Himself  was not in ministry until He was 30. Waiting is part of what God does for our lives, and is not only necessary, but essential for Him to bring us to the place where we can produce the fruit which He desires from us.

Jeremy "Fuzzy" Conley

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