My husband and I recently took a trip to Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. Although I was more interested in the flowers, I did see the bonsai display in the huge conservatory. I didn’t know too much about bonsai other than the fact that it involves much pruning and training to achieve the desired appearance. As I looked at the tiny trees, I was amazed to discover that some of the pruning had begun as much as 80 years ago!
Two thoughts came to me as I looked at those incredible plants. As a bonsai tree grows, the pruner must vigorously cut off various branches to develop the right shape and size. Even healthy growth must be cut if is not going in the planned direction. There is also much waiting involved. Sometimes it takes decades for the plant to become what the pruner desires it to be. Once that goal is reached, there will still be maintenance pruning as long as the tree lives.
I realized that my life could be compared to one of those trees, and that God my Father is the patient pruner. He started me from a small seed and has watched me grow for decades. Many times He has cut off unhealthy branches in my life, but He has also cut off what seemed to me to be good growth as well. He will cut what is necessary for my life to take and keep the shape He has designed specifically for me.
Those bonsai trees achieved the purpose for which they were created – to display the creativity and patience of the people who shaped them, as well as to provide enjoyment to those seeing them. If and when I don’t like the pruning and shaping God is doing in my life through my pain, I want to remember that I am being conformed into the perfect image He has chosen just for me. And it is good.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, whether painful for pleasant, help me to trust Your pruning and shaping of my life. Amen.