I’ve always wanted to be a “good” gardener. I am, in actuality, the type of “gardener” who mistakenly digs up the flowers instead of the weeds and ends up with wildly growing plants that seem to take over everything else in the garden.
I think part of my problem is that I hate to cut anything back. If it is a blooming plant, I’m afraid to pluck the blooms no matter how wilted their state may be for fear that no more will appear. My heart breaks every time I see landscaping crews ripping out beautiful flowers. However, I know that plucking out plants that aren’t going to thrive is just part of a gardener’s job and that pruning is a very important part of the growing process.
The Lord taught me a spiritual lesson in pruning several years ago that I continue to be reminded of almost every day.
While living in Texas, we had a crepe myrtle tree in front of our house. Our neighbors also had a crepe myrtle just a few feet from ours that was about the same size. I expect that the trees were planted at about the same time, but I don’t know for certain. Toward the end of winter one year, my husband Jack, went out and pruned our crepe myrtle. A trunk and sticks were all that was left when he was finished. It was not a pretty sight at all, and to me it looked like Jack had actually killed the tree. He promised me that he had not, and we left it at that.
Our neighbor’s crepe myrtle was much prettier with its long branches and green leaves. Looking at the two you would think our neighbor’s tree was going to come out on top. However, within a few short weeks, the effect of the pruning on our tree was evident. The leaves that sprouted were a deep rich green color, and as spring continued, the tree just seemed thicker–the word “flourish” comes to mind.
One day I pulled up into our driveway and compared the two trees. One was tall, but spindly with lighter colored leaves and some blossoms. The other tree had branches filled with dark green leaves and many more blossoms.
As I sat looking at them, the LORD spoke to my heart. He shared how His pruning in my life, although at the time may be very uncomfortable and not a pretty sight, causes me to “flourish” in Him.
In John 15, Jesus says that He is the true vine and that every branch of His that bears fruit, He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Looking at those trees was such a visual reminder of God’s pruning in my life.
His pruning will always produce more fruit in me to the glory of my “Gardener.”
As I struggle to keep plants alive and weeds dead, I also battle spiritually to be alive for Christ and dead to me. But I can rest in the knowledge that my LORD prunes me because He knows the fruit He wants produced in and through me–and it will be as beautiful as His Spring.
It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. Psalm 119:71
Are you in a fruit-bearing season or a pruning season?
Read John 15 and write a journal entry about what God is teaching you.