Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2)
When I prune a tree or bush I don’t care about, I quickly use the hedge clippers to cut it back without a second thought. However, when it comes to a special tree, my pruning is more strategic and careful.
A recent weekend found me hedging the numerous bushes in my yard. When I planted them on the previous barren landscape, I didn’t envision the care necessary to clip, cut, prune, weed, and mulch to keep them looking good. (What was I thinking?) As I was trimming, God used my hot, humid yardwork as His canvas to sketch a small portrait of His deep, abiding, sovereign love.
I have a bulky, prickly holly bush that came with the house when I bought it. I wouldn’t care if the holly died as I would replace it with something more appealing. So my pruning is quick and uncaring as I slice it into shape with my electric hedge trimmer.
However, I also have a prized Japanese maple in my back yard. It is the third one I specifically bought, planted, and nurtured. The previous two died so I take great care with this third tree. I tediously followed instructions about specific ground conditions, fertilizer, and other tips to nurture a healthy, burgundy-leafed tree.
When it came time to prune the Japanese maple, I found myself careful, almost hesitant to cut away the bottom branches so the tree could grow taller and fuller. I strategically sized up the tree from a distance as well as up close and personal. Then I envisioned the future tall, shady, fantastic tree it could become. Only then did I begin cutting away the branches that would hinder future growth.
Trusting God’s Pruning
Knowing God loves us and wants us to become the best, most effective we can be, I suspect He “prunes” us with a Japanese maple approach, never the holly. Yes, the removal of whatever is hindering us may be painful. However, He envisions us becoming the strong, healthy, effective people He created us to be. His pruning is not hurried, thoughtless, or uncaring; rather, it is loving, strategic, and for our good.
Whatever or whoever God prunes from your life, confidently trust that He is working all things for your good according to His purpose.