It was said of Abba John the Dwarf that he withdrew and lived in the desert ‘at Scetis with an old man of Thebes. His Abba, taking a piece of dry wood, planted it and said to him, ‘Water it every day with a bottle of water, until it bears fruit.’ Now the water was so far away that he had to leave in the evening and return the following morning. At the end of three years the wood came to life and bore fruit. Then the old man took some of the fruit and carried it to the church saying to the brethren, ‘Take and eat the fruit of obedience.‘
—-Sayings of the Desert Fathers
We live in a world of “have it your way,” but in order for us to communicate with the Creator of the universe we must understand His time. Not only was the Abba obedient, he was patient. He kept about his task for much longer than was reasonable. In our world we expect things to happen very quickly, and if they don’t we just give up. We lack that “long suffering” obedience it takes to accomplish the very best of this life and the life to come. I dare say that not one among us would water a dead stick for three months, let alone three years! Try to look for the “dead sticks” that God would bring to life if only we were patient and obedient disciples.