I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. ~ John 15:5
Summer has arrived! This year, our area has been blessed with bountiful rainfall. It took a massive flood to end a five year drought here. We have been mowing and clipping and weed-pulling for weeks now. It seems like I can trim the hedges, go inside for a drink of water, step back outside and it’s time to trim them again!
As I was clipping the hedges two nights ago, I thought about how the Lord has had to prune me over the years, and will need to do so again. It’s unpleasant to feel the blade go through the excess in my life, forcibly removing it, but it’s needful.
As a child, my parents did a lot of “pruning” on me. So did my teachers at school and other adults in my church. I was an outgoing, outspoken child. Every body felt like they could help me, but oh! How it hurt! I often went home in tears, feeling defeated and hopeless. But this was of the Lord. Had I not faced such criticism, I would not have come to know the Lord at all. He used that to allow me to see the “wretched man that I am” [Rom. 7:24]. When the Lord quickened me on June 12, 1993, I came to Him with nothing to offer. And I discovered that that is just the kind of person He wants! He calls the one who is broken, sick, and useless.
One thing about my shrubs is that they never stop growing. No matter how much I clip off, and regardless of the tool I use, they keep growing. As long as they live they will continue their growth, and I’ll continue my trimming, because I love the way manicured shrubs look in front of the house.
As Christians, we, too, should not stop growing despite being “pruned”. People will criticize us. It’s a fact. Will we listen, and weigh their criticism against the Bible? Or pull back from it and let our branches grow wild? I know from experience that the truth can cut deeply. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel that stabbing pain in your soul. We should accept it as from the Lord, ask Him for help to do better, and keep growing. One day, you’ll find beautiful fruit or flowers on your branches, then all that pruning will be worth it.
May we turn our shattered hearts to the Son and just keep growing.