The warmth of the sunlight poured in through the back windows this morning. It was beautiful, it felt good, and it was hopeful… but it wasn’t long after and the sun was gone. For some reason today of all days, it hit me!…our back patio area had become overgrown with vines and towering plants. It almost completely canopied our garden in the back.
To be honest, I had been mesmerized by the beauty of the flowering vines and lush green plants covering the entire fence and stairway. I’d been in awe of the beautiful purple, pink, and white blooms. But my love for the blooms caused me to forget the much needed pruning. They had become overwhelmingly out of control, blocking almost all access of the sun to the garden. My plants below were suffering..they had become week and started to wilt. Their source of the sun had been cut off, and they were slowly dying.
I couldn’t help but think of our relationship with the Lord. Sometimes we get a little too mesmerized by the world around us.. we get caught up in our career, our dreams, our desires. It lures us in with its sweet aroma and breathtaking beauty. We watch and are amazed at how quickly it grows and towers over us with strength. We don’t realize that it’s vines have entangled all around us. They have twisted and knotted so thickly around our thinking that we can barely see through. We begin to suffer from lack of sunlight…lack of the source.
You see, what God has in store for you is far more beautiful than what you could ever imagine..but it usually takes some pruning to see. The question is: Are you willing to let God prune your life? Are you willing to let him cut back on some of the areas that are blinding you or keeping you from fully serving Him? It may be difficult and it may be painful…but, my friend, you must learn to see these trials as your Heavenly Father’s loving and gentle hand at work, and not as a cruel punishment. Beauty and joy come after the hard work and labor of tending to the garden. Don’t get frustrated with God today; know that he is working all things for your good. He doesn’t want you to become overgrown with the twisted entanglement of this world, but to live each day in the light of his grace.
One of the plants I trimmed back today was a Bougainvillea. They grow wild all over California’s coast in bright colors of purple, pink, orange, and yellow. As I was cutting at the branches, I noticed that most were pretty skinny and didn’t take too much effort. But then there were a few branches that were extremely thick and strong. I had to grip the trimmers with both hands and pull down to finally tear through the flesh. That’s the same way in our lives. Some branches are just a lot more painful to prune than others. Many times we don’t understand why we have to go through such hardships…but we must remember that God is in control and he is caring for and nurturing his precious garden. Pruning is essential in life…it must take place in order to grow.
Once I had trimmed back everything, discarded of the fallen branches, and swept up all the remaining leaves, I noticed that my arms and hands were covered in bloody cuts and scrapes from all the thorns.
I couldn’t help but think of my sweet Savior. The one who bled for me. I don’t doubt that it hurts him to prune us, I don’t doubt that it hurts his heart to see us go through tough times.. But i know He sees the bigger picture and the ultimate good that comes from it.
Thank the Lord today for the beauty and life made possible through his own wounds and suffering. Ask the Lord to help you trust his goodness through the pruning times in your life. If you fail to see his goodness in the hard times, you will certainly miss out on his goodness in the grace that follows!
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.