I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
As a child, I remember early spring and grafting time in my Uncle Don’s apple orchard. My uncle would run his hand over the bark of the apple tree, finding just the right place to peel it away and make a slanting cut into the heart of the wood. He would then take a small branch, make a cut in the tree, and push the graft down into the damp wood of the tree. Later that spring, new life would emerge. Blossoms to buds to fruit. I’ve heard that one tree can bear over one hundred different kinds of apples. But it does not come without a wounding in both tree and branch.
Years later I would understand John Bunyan’s words: “Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think…. It is wounding work, this breaking of the hearts, but without wounding there is no saving. Where there is grafting there is a cutting, the graft must be let in with a wound… Heart must be set to heart… or there will be no sap from root to branch.”
Never would I have dreamed as I wandered through that orchard as a little girl, sensing the Spirit’s promptings to draw nearer, that my journey to know God would be filled with such cutting and wounding. The diving accident in which I became paralyzed was yet in the future, but it would force my wound to His wound, my heart to His heart. Years later I would understand the lesson of the graft: the wounding is where divine sap flows and spiritual fruit blossoms.
In affliction and suffering, our hearts are pressed into His. And the life of God flows into us, wound to wound. In those times of brokenness, remember that in Christ, the result is life, life, and more life.
Help me, Lord, to remain, to abide in you this day, no matter what my circumstances.
 John Bunyan, The Acceptable Sacrifice: The Excellency of a Broken Heart, in The Works of John Bunyan, vol. 1, p. 720.
Joni and Friends