It was a beautiful sunny morning, so I decided it would be a good day to trim back my bushes. Unlike my neighbor who has a doctorate in horticulture, I know nothing about plants, but these bushes had been growing astray for years and something had to be done. Shaping here and there had not seemed like a big deal, but at this point some pretty radical cutting needed to e done, so I began.
First, I cut off and pulled out all the dead branches. They were interwoven with the good ones. When they were entangled, it wasn’t as obvious just how dead they were. Then I pulled out other stalks that were not of the same variety of the bush; yes, they were green and living yet they were cutting off light and nutrients from the intended bush.
Finally, the unknown…how much do I cut back? How many living, decent looking branches do I remove? This is where my neighbor’s expertise would have been useful.
And into the garbage all these pruned branches went. The bushes look sparse now – like they have been given a bad haircut, but if my last experience with pruning is typical, the bush will again grow and flourish conforming to this new shape I have set for it instead of continuing in unruly growth.
My thoughts turn to God who expertly prunes the branches of our lives (John 15). That includes the dead branches that do not bear fruit, but with pruning, some of the good is removed to prepare for the best. Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes so that it may bear more fruit.
With pruning, the positive results are not immediately seen. When it feels we are stripped bare In the midst of our trials and distress, we endure patiently abiding in him. The one who abides in me and I am him bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.