It is fall cleanup time again. This is the time of year when we give our yard some much needed TLC. Part of our fall clean up routine is pruning the trees and bushes in our yard. Each time we start planning for this or I see Pete pruning I am reminded of how we too are pruned by a master gardener. John chapter 15 talks about God being the gardener, Jesus the vine and we are the branches. Every branch that does not bear fruit is cut off, every branch that does bear fruit is pruned so that it can bear even more fruit. A more fruitful life is appealing, right? The pruning part is maybe not so appealing!
There are many areas of our lives that God prunes us in. Recently God took me through a drastic time of pruning in my relationships. I am so thankful that Jesus was the vine that I could remain in during this time. I do believe that his constant flow of life and comfort through the painful times of this pruning was a source of more fruit in the long run. At the time my heart ached and I was unable to see how this could help. Praise God, that I didn't need to understand, I just needed to abide in him. Now, into the next season after pruning there is starting to be new relationships and fruit. What a joy it is to see growth, to have my wounds healed and feel the new blooms starting to emerge in my life.
It seems like we are never fully pruned at one time. God was so good to know that in my humanness I could only handle one area of my branches being cut. But, there is some room for pruning in another area now......my marriage. Anyone who is in a marriage and growing closer to becoming one with their spouse can understand, pruning in marriage hurts! In my incomplete view it seems like I am always the one taking the brunt of the cutting, but, this is a lie. We both are. As we grow together into one there is so much that needs to be pruned away. Selfishness, greed, temptation, judgement and so much more. Lately God has been pruning in the area of humility and serving. Jesus led the ultimate example of serving, he laid down his life for those he loved. We too must do the same thing in our marriages. So here I am feeling a little exposed and raw after a pruning by the Master, reluctantly ready to place his will before mine. Today I must fill my man's love tank, when I would rather be taking a hot, relaxing bath. Today I must stop being busy with the house and be busy with attending my entire attention to my man. Today I must choose to overlook an offense. Today I must put his needs and wants before mine. Today I must love first and receive love second. Just writing this makes me feel a little over-whelmed with the task at hand. As it should be because giving away my life so that I can share one with the man that God gave me to in marriage is a huge and rewarding task. No other area of my life outside of my relationship with God can offer true friendship, security and such tremendous love. So are those items worth losing my will to? YES! Does it hurt and take time, energy, and patience? YES! The pain of being pruned so that there can be new growth is sometimes terrible, but, the fruit that results is such a beautiful reward.
As we learn to abide in, rely on and trust in our vine to feed us, we can be sure that the Master will come through and prune out what may look good or nice, but, ultimately causes death. It is not always a pretty picture in the season of pruning, but the fruit in the next season is a glory to the Master, better than the last crop and more fruitful. Ladies we must learn to make God our master gardener and Jesus the one who sustains us. No magazine, self help book or guru can offer the harvest that our Lord and Saviour can. So next time you are feeling a little picked on and pulled apart, just remember there will be a season that you cannot see now that will result in a more substantial and fruitful harvest.