I have taken so many walks each day while here in Florida and I have begun to notice something that I hadn’t before. In places where a gardener’s pruning shears have been, beauty is sprouting up. Sometimes when young trees are planted, the gardener will prune off the lower branches to give shape to the tree. This pruning leaves the tree trunks marked with visible knots where the limb was cut off. To the eye, these marks are ugly scars that are left behind, but low and behold out of those ugly scars can come a new bloom that holds such beauty! As I began to take notice of this, I couldn’t help but think of our Master Gardener who often takes the pruning shears to our lives.
It downright hurts when God pulls out those pruning shears! Many times it leaves us scarred and feeling ugly inside. When we are holding onto something in our lives that God deems not healthy, not in His plan for you, He will cut it out of your life as He works to produce in you what you could not do on your own. If you are anything like me, I usually go through the pruning process kicking and screaming. It is uncomfortable, it hurts and sometimes it is devastating. During these pruning times, you may be tempted to think God is punishing you or that he doesn’t care about your life, but nothing could be further from the truth. He conducts pruning in your life because of His deep and enduring love for you. Perhaps you are holding on to a past grudge or hurt from a relationship, perhaps it is an unhealthy relationship that you are clinging to or a job that is wreaking havoc in your life. Maybe you are holding on to pride or a plan that you have for yourself that is not a part of God’s plan for you. Whatever it is, know that at some point God will say “today is the day we do a little pruning. Today is the day that I will begin to clear the path for a new start that will be healthier and more beautiful.” “Today we will begin to work on transforming the values of your heart.” Yes, you may come away from this day with a scar that has forever marked you, but oh, what amazing growth that will come from that, if you let God do what he has planned for you. God may leave the scar to remind you of what He has brought you through, but no longer will you see that scar as ugly but beautiful. When other people see what has grown from that place of hurt in your life, they will admire and be amazed at the beauty that blossoms there. They will be drawn to it and will be encouraged by it just as I was on my walks amongst the trees.
John 15:1-2 tells us that “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.” What is the fruit that Jesus is talking about? Galatians 5:22 gives us a look. It say’s “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Gripping tightly to things in our lives that are not good, prevents us from developing these types of fruit, it renders us ineffective and unproductive so God must act. Because He loves you more than life itself, he must remove what binds us and hinders our ability to not only enjoy the fruit but to also share it with others. If you are enduring a pruning session now, believe that though you might not understand what God is doing, He does. He sees the shape for your life and it will be beautiful if you will allow him to complete the work. If you have already gone through a pruning phase, I hope that you are starting to see the new blossoms beginning to form and that you will rejoice in their beauty. If you are only seeing the scar, keep your eyes on the Gardener, it takes time for new growth to begin to break through the roughness. Cling to Paul’s words in Philippians 1:6 – “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Be confident that what God starts, he finishes!