Friday, April 15, 2011
Pruned by God through Pain and Suffering
“I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. . . every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 14:1,2).
Pruning redirects growth. I need to grow in directions of joy, contentment, hope, and peace , rather than envy, discouragement, bitterness, or self-pity. Pruning thins out extra branches and strengthens the main branches supporting the tree or plant structure. God may remove certain things in my life to show me that He is enough and my strength comes from Him. Pruning rejuvenates old growth. I sometimes need a fresh reminder that God is in control and has the best plan for my life, regardless of how it seems at the moment. I can adopt new outlooks and methods of coping with problems, remembering I am new creation in Christ. Proper pruning encourages fruit growth. God’s purpose is for me to bear fruit for Him whatever my circumstances, and He gives me the strength and ability to do that if I am attached firmly to Him. Pruning shapes the object. Everything that God brings in to my life has the potential of conforming me more to His image so that I am transformed into His likeness (II Corinthians 3:18).
Interestingly enough, a well-pruned tree or bush which is exposed to severe weather will build up stronger supportive tissue and more flexible limbs than those trees which are not under such stress. God’s Spirit helps us to increase in perseverance and endurance through suffering, so that we will become mature in Him (James 1:2-4).
Improper pruning can destroy a plant. Thankfully our God is not a harsh gardener. Our scars show the cuts of His love and care, and He is shaping us perfectly for eternity.
Prayer: O God, You are the perfect pruner. May I yield to Your pruning methods in my life as You shape me for Your glory. Amen.