As I have contemplated the concept of fruits vs. works this week, I have had a few experiences that have brought something personal to my attention in a neat way.
We moved from Ohio to Missouri this summer in order for me to change careers. In many ways, it was not an easy move. We had lived in our former ward for 12 years, twice as long as we had lived in any other ward or town/city. We absolutely LOVED our ward and stake. It was the only home most of our children remembered with any degree of clarity, and our two youngest were born there. Our oldest daughter is a senior this year, and that is a brutal time to move - especially when she went from a graduating class of about 900 to one of about 50. To top it all off, we had to pack and move everything on our own (with the wonderful help of friends) - and we had to leave LOTS of stuff behind, which was very hard for my pack rat wife.
Looking back on our move after only one month, however, I have been struck by how divinely directed it was. Of particular relevance to my New Year's Resolution this month is that we have found an inactive woman and two inactive young women already with whom we have clicked on a personal level. Furthermore, because of the distance we are from the church, we will teaching our girls seminary this year. The two inactive young women have said they would like to attend seminary, so a class that we assumed would include only our daughters now will have four young women when we start next week.
I won't share all the details of how this came to fruition, but I have been impressed deeply, once again, at how intimately the Lord knows us - and how glorious the outcome can be if we only are willing to endure to the end and wait to see in hindsight the hand of God in our lives. If we are willing to do more than just the works we would like to do - or just generic good works - or just those things that we understand and are inclined to do naturally, we truly will be able to understand our struggles and recognize the fruit that He has produced through His connection to us. It might take longer than we would want, but the fruit truly can be sweet and unexpected.