I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He 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 15:1-2
Recently I was given a copy of Andrew Murray’s devotional book entitled “Abiding in Christ”. There are 31 brief chapters full of Murray’s rich reflections on the John 15:1-12 passage. I’m not sure why I had never come across this book before since it was originally published in 1895!
In the past few weeks I have tried to read a chapter a day. Funny how sometimes real life provides reinforcement for the things God is emphasizing to me.
A few weeks earlier I had severely pruned a house plant that had become unusually tall. It started as a desk plant for my husband’s office probably 15 years ago. This “Money Tree” was moved to our home nearly two years ago when my husband’s company relocated to a new building and there was no room in his office for this plant.
The Money Tree occupied this corner in our home until we needed to move it to paint the room. I researched on line how to prune this type of plant to make moving easier, and found that it was advised to prune only halfway down the plant, which is what I did, leaving the shortest stem whole.
For several weeks, the plant showed no new growth. In fact, my daughter suggested I toss it out. Then, last week we noticed little tiny green buds, and soon new growth popped out all over! We were so excited!
A gardener has two choices when fruit is not prolific, or not even evident in a plant; the plant can be pruned to see if more will come forth, or it can be pulled out. I’m sure gardeners can explain scientifically why it is that a plant will do what ours did after it is pruned. Pruning seems like the more desirable option.
In our lives, pruning feels like death at times. It feels like loss. It is painful. Life as we know it has abruptly stopped. This is where I was when I broke my leg almost exactly a year ago. Life was reduced down to managing swelling and pain; then submitting to surgery in which a plate and 8 screws were applied. 11 weeks of sitting on the couch or in a wheelchair followed after surgery. Ambulation was difficult as I could put no weight on that leg. I needed assistance to do the most basic things we all take for granted. All my plans were scrapped.
So in my next blog post, I will be picking up my series, Scraps of Life, to continue that journey with you, focusing on the new growth that has come from this pruning.
Perhaps you are in a season of pruning as well. You are waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Are you experiencing pain, loss, frustration, anger, confusion, sorrow? I invite you to view this season not as a waste, and not the end of the story. Instead, see it as a time to go inward with God. What does God want to reveal to you, and grow in you?