"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." (Hebrews 12:2, KJV).
You don't see fruit as it is being produced; instead, you see it after it is produced. And the fruit isn't available as a source for nourishment until it is visible and hanging on the vine or tree branch and ripened.
A tree that bears fruit, though it has it to offer, has no say in if or when it's fruit is received for its life giving nourishment once its fruit is produced. And neither does the tree decide what it must live through before it produces fruit. The tree's part in fruit bearing is its response to the fruit bearing process.
To live to give life the tree must weather whatever storms come it's way, be able to take the heat and the dryness of drought, survive dormancy, and remain steady through its budding season.
The tree that lives will merely bend instead of break when pummeled by torrential storms; it will fight to replenish itself when the heat is high and the water is scarce; it will remain though it is empty, bare, and its fruit is out of season; and it will give nectar from its flowers for the reproduction process while it waits for its fruit to be made ready and revealed for life giving nourishment.
The tree survives by digging deeper roots. Unless you're the farmer growing the tree, this is the part that is never recognized.
I am a fruit bearing tree. Though I may sometimes look as if I'm good for nothing, my fruit is in process. God is taking His course with me to fulfill His purpose in me. He knows His plan for me, even though it's not always understandable or recognizable. The times when my branches lack fruit do not concern Him because He knows what is happening inside of me. And He can see me digging deeper for my strength to survive.
It is interesting to me how the same forces that can cause my destruction can actually be used to make me stronger and more fruitful.
To produce love, I have to learn to forgive.
To produce joy, I have to suffer sorrow.
To produce peace, I have to experience chaos.
To produce patience, I have to learn to be still.
To produce kindness, I have to let others take.
To produce goodness, I have to experience injustice.
To produce faithfulness, I have to live through uncertainty.
To produce gentleness, I must overcome abuse.
To produce self-control, I must learn to rely on His preservation.
The lessons aren't always easy to learn, the suffering seems to last forever, and the experiences feel as if they are breaking me. But I am a strong tree with deep roots because I look unto Jesus as my source for whatever season I am in. So watch closely! God will eventually reveal His good and finished work that He has begun in me.