Our kitchen looks out onto our backyard. Our girls typically play outside while I get dinner ready. One afternoon, I hear wailing just shortly after they ran outside to play. Braced for blood, my oldest comes in muttering, “my bush, my bush!”
While she was at school I cut back all the bushes, including her beloved butterfly bush, and the sight of seeing its bare branches devastated her. The loss that comes with pruning is hard, it feels harsh.
I’ve been studying the book of John recently, specifically John 15. Jesus knows He’s about to be crucified and here we have some of His final words to the disciples, “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
He gets straight to the point, expect to be pruned. Verse two has given me a few sucker punches over the last few months. I like to hold onto what I have because it doesn’t require the pain that comes with pruning.
But I knew what the bush needed, I cut back her bush because I knew it would grow bigger and produce more blooms as a result. I explained to her that our job is to to take care of our bushes, because an untended bush indicates an uncaring gardener. We could let it grow without pruning but that wouldn’t be best.
I need this reminder often, God is a caring, good and gentle gardener. He isn’t willing to let us grow out of control. He prunes with grace not a hacksaw.
But I have to release the good to receive the greater. I have to let Him prune back what might be hindering me from receiving more of Him or my fruit from flourishing.
Let’s pause for a moment today and ask Him to help us release the good so we can receive the greater.