“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. Hu cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2
It's that time of year. The time here in South Carolina, when the crepe myrtles and knock-out roses need to be pruned. Actually, not just pruned, but cut back fairly severely. My dear friend, Dianne, who was my plant mentor, used to say to cut them back by Valentine’s Day, which means I only have a few more days to get it done. Pruning is hard work. Besides the actual cutting, there’s also the clean-up. Not my favorite thing to do. But it’s all necessary in order to have beautiful blooms later.
God is compared to a loving gardener who prunes or removes those areas of our character that keeps us from bearing good fruit. Those things that keep us from looking more like Him. It may be ugly (like a badly pruned crepe myrtle) and painful and we often resist, but it’s merciful and good of our loving Father to cut away those things that choke and entangle us spiritually. When pruning is skipped, the plants suffer, and so do we. We were created to bear fruit. Today’s painful pruning paves the way for tomorrow’s blooms and fruit.
As I think about pruning, I’m reminded of the peach trees in neighboring counties. When they are full of beautiful blooms and the fields are filled with clouds of pink, the workers come in and prune the trees, cutting away many beautiful branches. In effect eliminating some of the potential fruit. This is necessary so that the existing branches, filled with blooms, can grow bigger, better fruit.
We may be doing lots of good things, but sometimes the Lord needs to prune and eliminate some of those things so that the remaining good things can be better, more productive, more fruitful, more glorifying to Him.
If you are in the midst of a spiritual pruning season, be patient, let the Lord do His work. It may be painful at times, but the beauty that will come is worth the pain and the effort. Trust Him, He is the Master Gardener and He knows what is best for you.
Susan Sims Meyer
Thoughts and paintings from my personal quiet time and Bible study