I have finally allowed myself to admit that I enjoy gardening – not the vegetable type, but doing the lawn, taking care of the flowers, etc. It has taken me years to admit it, but I find it relaxing and rewarding. Several years ago, before I had fully embrace this understanding, I did have a rose garden. I was meticulous in my research, and had a variety in type, height, color, and bloom size. I think I had about 10 rose bushes. They were a lot of work, I battled black spot, bugs, heat, etc., but I would often have beautiful arrangements.
As is my normal routine, I did a lot of reading to find out how to take care of the roses, and one of the important tasks that I had to undertake was the annual pruning. I remember every year (late fall/early spring), I would clean the flower beds and do my pruning. My research told me the heavier I pruned, the more hearty, fully and health the rose would be that spring. I remember my Mom being horrified when she would see me pruning the roses, because it was seem so extreme. I have to admit there were a few times that I wondered if I had gone too far.
Since moving from that house, I have just recently planted a couple of roses at my new home, and have found myself undertaking the pruning ritual again. My neighbor, a woman in her early 80s will always make it a point to tell me how beautiful the roses are when she sees me cutting them. I know she is expressing her feelings with the hope that I will understand that I should not cut too much off. Every time she expresses her feelings/concerns, I try to reassure her by letting her know that what I am doing will result in a stronger, more beautiful rose bush in the future – even though it is hard to see that right now.
The last time we had this exchange, it got me thinking about the Christian walk. God tell us in John 15:2-3: "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. "
In order for a Christian to continue to produce, and to produce more fruit, God must prune him/her.
When I prune my roses, I am doing it carefully, with detail, attention, and love. I am cutting away dead canes, or canes that are blocking the sun and thus stunting growth, with the goal of giving the rose bush the best chance of success.
When God prunes us, He is doing it carefully, with detail, attention, and love. He is cutting away the dead areas of our lives, or the areas that are block His access and thus stunting our growth. His goal is to give us our best chance at Christian success.
The pruning I was doing to the roses looked drastic to the observer, and anyone walking by may have thought the rose bush was going to die. If however, they walked by the same rose bush in the spring, they would be amazed how beautiful and strong the bush had become. In the same way, God’s pruning can look drastic to the observer, and they may wonder how the individual will survive. If however, they see that Christian at a later date, they would be amazed at how beautiful, strong and full of faith the individual has become.
I remember when I was much younger in my Christian walk, my prayer was for God to prune me hard, because I knew that if He did and I stayed focused, I would emerge beautiful in His sight. Age has made me a little less brave, and I do not pray that prayer any longer, but the beauty is that with or without my prayer, God loves me enough to prune me whether I ask for it or not. I thank Him for the pruning, and am hopeful I will get to a state that I willingly seek it as well, because I know I will emerge Stronger Than Ever.
Glory To God For All That He Has Done
Blessings - Janice
Associate Certified Coach, ICF