Springtime and the gardening season is finally upon us. I know millions of people are thrilled to be out from under the mountains of snow that inundated them for most of the winter. Our thoughts are turning from the desolate, depressing gray winter to warmer, colorful flower filled days. I’m a gardener and I love the spring. I enjoy the feel of dirt running through my fingers as I prepare the soil for planting. Part of my springtime prep also involves pruning. In North Carolina, we have Crepe Myrtle trees which need pruning each year. When these trees are in bloom they are absolutely stunning with huge clusters of brilliant flowers. The trick to having successful trees is the yearly pruning. The branches are cut way back and dead, unproductive stems are removed. The tree looks horrid and naked, when the cutting is done, but it won’t last because in a few months it will be alive with verdant green leaves and stunning clumps of magenta, crimson or white blooms. The pruning produces beauty.
In John 15, Jesus talks to his disciples about pruning and uses the illustration of grapevines. In order to have abundant clusters of grapes, the farmer must prune the vines and remove the dead branches in order to provide adequate nourishment for the stems capable of producing fruit. He carefully examines the twigs and if he sees they are producing even a little fruit he will prune the stem to encourage more growth.
If you are experiencing trials and difficulties in your life, it is God pruning you to encourage growth in your Christian life. It is a cause for rejoicing because even if you’re producing only a little fruit God believes you are capable of more and he is working on removing those things in your life which hinder your growth. I have been going through a pruning season in my life. God is removing every safety net from my life in order that I might learn to trust him. My faith was so superficial but the pruning process has deepened my belief in my heavenly father. It is not pleasant but it is vital. I don’t want to be a dead branch God cuts and throws away.
Our desire, as Christians, should be to become fruit producers and this requires pruning. God will remove those dead items in our lives which hinder growth. As long as God sees evidence of life, he will do what is necessary to create abundance. Don’t despise these times but thank God he considers you worth pruning.