Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Pruner

"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and
every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more
fruit." John 15:2

The story is told of a man who was such an efficient and no-
nonsense gardener that "pruning" meant something closer to
mutilation. When he finished his thorough job, the bushes were
stubby and barely recognizable, their sawed off branches were
all coated with sealant at the tips. Amazingly, most of the
plants lived to the next season, but some of them never recovered
from his overzealous effort.
Maybe that's the image you have when you read about how God
prunes everyone who belongs to the Vine. You picture giant shears
nipping you to pieces. But your God is loving and a careful
gardener. He only prunes off the dead spots, the stray shoots
that will prevent healthy growth in the future. You can take
comfort in His tender perfection in trimming.
Any kind of pruning is painful to some degree, but when you
have the perspective of God as a loving caregiver, you can endure
the discomfort with the joy He gives. From minor irritations to
colossal difficulties, they all exist in your life for a precise
purpose. When trouble comes, pause to envision the pruning process
and ask Him to remind you of His overall plan for your life.

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what
you desire, and it shall be done for you." John 15:7


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