“I need to prune—it’ll look ugly for a while, but it’ll spruce up nicely later.”
Someone said those words to me a few weeks ago as we were talking about his beautiful willow tree. I love that tree…it makes me happy every day. : ) Honestly, I couldn’t really see where it needed pruning, but the owner knew his tree…and knew what had to be done to keep it healthy and flourishing.
Recently, as I was spending time trimming our shrubs, I took a step back to look at my progress and thought, “Wow! That really looks ugly now.” Immediately, that thought was followed with this one, “but it’s gonna look so good when the new growth appears.”
All of a sudden I realized that this is a picture of life. Sometimes the “pruning” can really appear like devastation—but when we grow—the result is beauty.
God is the ultimate Gardener —and I’m so glad He shares His wisdom with us. I do not like being pruned—it’s not comfortable…it sometimes hurts…and it’s definitely not pretty. However, if we hold on—if we remain attached to the vine—we will grow…and beauty will be seen. : )
In the movie “The Passion of the Christ”, a bloodied and stumbling Christ tells his mother, “See, Mother, I make all things new.” How confusing those words must have been to those who didn’t (or don’t) know “the rest of the story.” But He knew how it all would end. He knew what was to come…and that the temporary ugliness would result in eternal beauty. : )
The words of Christ, as recorded in the book of John, chapter 15:
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He 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. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.