Written by: Vivian Wilson
I have a rose bush that lives in the flower bed close to my deck. Many of you can say the same thing, in fact, you probably have more than one. But this rose bush is special. We planted it in 1976, when we moved into this home. It has survived two floods, and many hot, dry summers, a few snow falls, and many freezing days over the years. Yet it survives. In fact, it more than survives. When pruned at the proper time in February, it produces many beautiful, fragrant yellow roses from May into the fall.
As I was reading one of my favorite passages of scripture recently, John 15:1-17, familiar verses about the Vine and the branches, I thought about my rose bush. (I don’t have any grapevines.) I was reminded that there are seasons of pruning in the life of every child of God.
According to Wikipedia: Pruning is the practice involving the selective removal of parts of a plant. The practice entails removal of diseased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound or otherwise unwanted tissue from plants. The reasons we prune are: 1. deadwood removal 2. shaping—by controlling or directing growth 3. improving or maintaining health 4. increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits.
This pruning process can be painful at times as God shines His light into the dark places of our hearts, illuminating the sin, failures, and weaknesses that try to hide there. Then we are faced with a choice. We can ignore or rationalize what God’s truth reveals, or we can acknowledge it, repent, and allow God to remove the things from our lives.
If we choose to reject the work of the “Gardener” we risk forfeiting our usefulness and the blessings that He has planned for us. We also diminish our relationship with Him. We cannot abide in Him because sin is a hindrance to our fellowship with Him.
To abide in Him is to keep in fellowship with Christ so that His life can work in and through us to produce fruit.
But if we surrender to God and allow Him to prune us, we will first, be even more fruitful, John 15:2…while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. And second, the Father will be glorified because others will see that we are disciples of Jesus, John 15:8 This is my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
I am grateful for this process because each time that God prunes me, I am closer to Him, I experience His love on a deeper level, and I can live a more godly life because He is building in me a more godly character.
When I allow God to prune me, I more than survive life, I am a useful servant who loves my Savior. Like my rose bush when it is full of beautiful yellow blooms, I pray that my life will reflect the beautiful presence and character of God.
Still, and until He calls me home, a work in progress,