Raw Reflections from the Journey

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Vine and the branches . . . or, Power Lines and Power in the Midwest/Eastern U.S.

Torrid winds tore through a swath of the Midwest and Eastern U.S. beginning this past Friday afternoon about 3pm.  In an instant hundreds of thousands were without power for lighting, refrigeration and A/C . . . let the unscheduled camping trip begin!  Candles, lanterns, flashlights, coolers ice cubes and generators were suddenly in high demand. 

On the first night we sat as a family in our candle lit living room and enjoyed a long conversation uninterrupted by anything electric.  Nice!  And as the sun fell, so did we . . . we fell asleep, lending to deeper understanding of a lyric from the Sound of Music; " . . . the sun has gone to bed and so must I . . ."

The novelty of powerlessness wore off on Saturday.  Body odor combined with deprivation of customary creature comforts threatened our/my peace.  "I'm a pretty fragile creature" I thought.  Well, at least a creature accustomed to creature comforts.  Thankfully we've experienced some third world travel that put the temporary inconvenience in perspective.  "This is the rule and not the exception for many in the world" I thought. 

But then, I dug a little deeper, especially after a twelve hour reprieve during which power was restored (Sun 5am to 5p, at which time another torrent of wind blew through and blew down many of the same power lines!)  Could there be a spiritual lesson in this?  Something God would like to remind me?  As suddenly as I asked the question, a specific verse came to mind,

Apart from me you can do nothing . . . I am the vine, and you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing! (John 15)

Without electrical power there wasn't much we were able to do that we were usually able to do.  But The Lord's point goes even further.  Apart from me, you can do nothing.

What have you tried to do in your own strength and wisdom recently?  Juxtapose that against something you did with His peace and wisdom.  What was the difference?

One thing I love about serving as a counselor is the complexity and difficulty of my client's circumstances.  What? Why? Because I have constant need to seek out the power, strength, wisdom and will of the ONE in whom all things hold together (Colossians 1).  I have to hear from Him and experience His peace and strength to serve effectively.

The absence of electrical power reminded me of our relative powerlessness in a physically fragile world.  Isn't it great that we aren't powerless spiritually?  That we can choose to connect and remain connected to the One True Vine!

Our electrical power has been restored, and we're relieved.  Its back to life as usual, but not before an important reminder was received.  Apart from Him, we can do nothing . . .

Where in your life, relationships, work and minsitry do you need his wisdom and power today?  In what ways do others need to receive it from you?  Retreat to some solitude with Jesus and ask Him to speak to you and teach you, remembering that Apart from Him we can do nothing . . . instead, we can do all things through Him who gives us strength!