I have been thinking a lot about this in recent weeks. With the arrival of spring & new growth, I began to walk around our house to inspect the bushes & plants that I had “pruned” in the fall. I was curious if, in the pruning process, I had killed anything permanently.
is a horticultural practice involving the selective removal of parts of a plant. Reasons to prune plants include deadwood removal, shaping (by controlling or directing growth), improving or maintaining health. The practice entails targeted removal of diseased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound, or otherwise unwanted tissue from crop and landscape plants. (taken from Wikipedia)
I knew, while I was pruning, I only wanted what was best for my plants. I wanted to remove what was dead, unattractive, unshapely. My desire was that when alive again in the spring, they would be beautiful, perfectly shaped, colorful, & healthy.
While I was in the process of pruning though, I had no idea, NONE, what the outcome would be. None. All winter, while all was dormant, the true health of the plants & bushes was hidden.
Jesus spoke about the process of pruning in the lives of His people…
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15: 1, 2 NIV).
In this passage, Jesus tells us that the Father prunes “so that we will be even more fruitful”. Could it be that while I was being pruned by the Father, I have so focused on the process (ie – the pain), that I missed that He truly knew what He was doing? How did I miss that He was only removing what was dead? That He was even doing what was best for me? He was in the process of removing all which was no longer purposeful in my life. He was removing the unhealthy. While I lay in the dormant stage for a time, a new branch of my life was waiting to burst forth & bear fruit. He was always at work in my life to make me more beautiful, more productive, more healthy. And it would all be for His glory.
How He has been unfolding these truths this week has been amazing to me.
Yesterday I went to CBD to pick up a few CD’s. The timing was perfect. One of the CD’s was Christy Nockels’, “Into The Glorious”. As I listened to the song, “For Your Splendor”, I found myself finally appreciating the pruning process. Notice I did not say, “I liked it” but that I appreciated it. I realized that, sure the pruning is for presently in my life, but it also for what is yet to come. As I allow the Lord to prune from my life the unattractive, the strongholds, the unproductive; it is so that the future generations of my family will also be productive for Him, walk in integrity, and be healthy spiritually.
I sat in my car & listened – over & over & over & over. The words of the song washing over my soul like a balm…..
“I’m so concerned with what I look like from the outside.
Will I blossom into what You hope I’ll be.
Yet You’re so patient just to help me see.
The blooms come from a deeper seed that You planted in me.
Sometimes it’s hard to grow when everybody’s watching.
To have your heart pruned by the one who knows best.
And though I’m bare and cold, I know my season’s coming.
And I’ll spring up in Your endless faithfulness.
With my roots deep in You, I’ll grow the branch that bears the fruit.
And though I’m small, I’ll still be standing in the storm.
‘Cause I am planted by the river by Your streams of living water.
And I’ll grow up strong and beautiful, all for Your splendor, Lord.
So with my arms stretched out, I’m swaying to Your heartbeat.
I’m growing with the sound of Your voice calling.
You’re bringing out the beauty that You have put in me.
For Your joy and for Your glory falling.”
Written by Christy Nockels and Nathan Nockels, Copyright 2012 sixsteps Music/worshiptogether.com Songs/Sweater Weather Music (ASCAP) (Admin. at EMICMGPublishing.com)
Oh, may it be so that my roots will be deep in Him so that I will grow a branch that bears fruit. May it be for His joy & for His glory.
**After you have heard this song, get the CD. It is all so good!