Ouch! That Pruning Hurts…
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
It is incredibly hard to “quit while you’re ahead.” To be sidelined in the middle of living out your dream. For whatever reason.
But the Master Gardener, sometimes “cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” (John 15.2)
If so, will you obediently submit to that process? I well remember seasons of pruning. Of cutting back professional activities (sometimes at the height of success) in order to focus on mothering my own four kids. Or of restructuring my commitments in order to keep the most important at the forefront.
There are a number of reasons why God may lead us through pruning for a season:
- Remove Disease– Often there must be surgery to remove something in our lives that is detrimental and making us more vulnerable to sin. Pruning prevents it from spreading, though it is often painful to give up.
- Revive Fruit – This process can actually help us produce a better quality of fruit. Pruning a plant in the right location can actually help propogate more new shoots. Our verse bears this out “so they will produce even more.” A temporary decrease can actually bring an increase.
- Redirect Growth– Plants that are cut at one point stop growing in that direction and increase in another. God often does this in our lives to force us into new or healthier situations.
- Restore Strength – God’s primary concern is our root system and if it is deep enough to receive nourishment. Yes, the fruit is important, but only if there is health below the surface to sustain it. Sometimes He prunes the outer in order to strengthen the hidden work done in dark places.
Left alone, a vine will always favor new growth — growth for the sake of growth — over fruit production. You’ll see a full, leafy, beautiful plant, but few grapes. This is because all of the water and light and juice are going to the production of leaves instead of the fruit!
“To bear fruit is to hold a posture rather than to accomplish a task. It is a set of things to be rather than a set of things to do… To bear fruit is to be as the Holy has been to us – loving and joyful, peaceful and patient, kind and good and gentle, faithful and modest and generous.” (Robert Benson, “Punching Holes in the Dark”)
As we grow in our Christianity, Christ prunes to cut away immature commitments and lesser priorities to make room for even greater abundance for His glory. May we offer up this interruption to Jesus and respond with joy and gratitude — not complaint or resentment.
Let the pruning begin – we will be better for it.
under the mercy, Cindy
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©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
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