The last couple of weeks have been very frustrating for internet users here in the Philippines. I first noticed the problem around Christmas time. When I called the phone/internet company, they explained that the Taiwan earthquake caused major damage to some internet cables. I did some research and found out that there are about six or seven massive fiber optic cables that go all the way from Taiwan to the States (underwater cables). This surprised me—all this time I thought that it was just satellites that kept the internet going between continents.
Until now things just aren’t working well. The internet is OK early in the morning, but things go “downhill” quickly as the day goes by. Some websites work, others do not (doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for it). There’s nothing quite like the torture of watching that little hour glass on the computer as you wait to check your yahoo mail.
Telephone connections have also been affected. My last conversation with my parents didn’t go so well. Their voices were garbled and at times I couldn’t understand them. We did the best we could for a few minutes and just decided to try again next week.
These damaged cables remind me of something Jesus said:
I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
–John 15:1-8 (NLT)
Jesus had an incredible way of using simple examples to explain spiritual truths. Just as a branch must be connected to the vine, we must be connected to Him. A branch depends on the vine for nourishment and strength. If there’s no connection to the vine, there will be no fruit (there will, in fact, be no life).
Our little internet “crisis” has reminded me of this truth. Trying to use the internet is useless when there is a broken connection. In the same way, trying to live the Christian life is impossible when we have a damaged connection to Christ. Impossible as it is, all of us are guilty of trying it. We’ve all tried doing things in our strength instead of His strength.
Repairing those submarine cables is apparently a complicated and time consuming task. Fortunately, connecting to Jesus is not complicated at all. It is so simple that Jesus did not feel the need to give any steps or formulas. “Remain in me” was His simple commandment. If we spend time with Him, get to know Him, and obey His commandments, we will bear fruit! If not, we will be as useless as a dried up branch or a severed internet cable.
Get connected. Stay connected. Let’s bear fruit and glorify Him!
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