A few years ago, we had a tree in our front yard that was starting to look like a Charlie Brown type of tree. For those that maybe didn’t grow up watching Charlie Brown, the tree was not looking good, the branches and leaves were sparse! I decided one fall I was going to trim the crud out of that tree and either it would prayerfully come back stronger or it would finish it off. The neighbors made fun of me, asking if I was trying to kill it. Some would be more subtle, “Wow, you trimmed a lot off of your tree”.
I am thankful to say, the tree not only survived but it is much more full than it had ever been.
Have you ever had the sudden loss of a friendship, an unexpected job change or change in position, or an unexpected illness or injury? There are times when our heavenly Fathers takes some pruning shears to us and it can be very confusing and painful in the moment! In John chapter 15 it says:
I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more…
I googled “benefits of pruning” and this was one of the responses: There are several benefits to pruning. Irregular growing habits can be corrected. It can bring in an earlier bloom period. It can cause flower and fruit size to skyrocket. It also can aid in controlling disease and pests.
It’s not comfortable being pruned! Feeling like something or someone is being taken away from us can hurt! For us to grow more fully into what God has for us, He has to make us uncomfortable at times and move us out of something, so we can move into something else. We may lose people out of our life, but if we’ll trust God we’ll end up with even stronger and healthier relationships. An illness or an injury maybe to get our attention or it may be during that time that we realize how desperate we are for God. Not that God causes the illness or injury but He will certainly use what the devil meant for evil, to turn it into something good. We have a son that was born blind and obviously as his parents we wanted nothing more than for his sight to be restored. We begged and pleaded with God, because all we could see was the down side of being blind, all the things he wouldn’t be able to do. What God showed us and our now adult son, was that we had to trust Him. God has used our son to positively impact sighted and unsighted people and give them hope and encouragement in ways he could have never done if he had been a normal sighted young man. If we focus on what has been taken away from us instead of what God has for us, we could be missing our biggest opportunities!
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future!