Last week we celebrated our second full year here in Italy. To say that these past two years have been an adventure would be an understatement. There have been countless things to celebrate, to grieve, to learn, to gain, and to lose.
As we reflect on the past two years here in Italy I’m reminded of Jesus’s promise in John 15.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
If there’s one thing that we’ve found to be consistent over our two years here in Italy it is that when we are listening well to the Spirit of God and obey courageously, we see God do some incredible things. We’ve learned, as Dallas Willard puts it, that when we “internalize the words of God and put them into action” we experience fruitfulness and the easy and light yoke Jesus promised.
As with most things (as we continually experience with God), abiding rarely looks like we think it should. Abiding in Jesus often pushes us past places of comfort. It often invites us to wait. More often than not we’re left being misunderstood. The incredible thing is that when we lean in, God shows up. That is the story of the past two years here in Italy. We’ve waited, we’ve listened, we’ve obeyed, we’ve been misunderstood, we’ve traded in a lot of the comforts that we were accustomed to for a new and often strange culture. But, in doing so, we’ve seen God transform our hearts and the hearts of those around us.
With each passing year may we learn to more fully abide in Him that we’d bear much fruit for His glory.
May the Kingdom of Heaven reign here in Italy as it is in heaven.