ODJ: painful pruning

October 20, 2015 

READ: John 15:1-5 

He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more (v.2).

Last summer we planted rosebushes in the garden in honour of my Abuelita—my grandmother. She was like a mother to me, and even though she died 10 years ago I still miss her terribly. Wild and sweet-smelling roses grew around her house. The roses I was planting would be a beautiful and constant reminder of her—a tribute.

But soon after I planted the bushes, I was distraught when they didn’t grow. I thought I had accidentally destroyed them. But, after many weeks, I spotted a blossom, and then another and still another! I was joyful as I watched the roses bloom all summer. Then came the first frost and the frigidity of winter. The flowers withered and it was time for me to remove them. Before I lopped them off and pruned some of the branches, however, I apologised to them. I was sorry to hurt them and I told them they’d thank me later for the pruning. (Yes, I talked to the plants.)

Just like I had to prune the rosebushes to foster annual renewal, sometimes God needs to do some pruning in us. Even though it’s painful and we don’t welcome it, He “prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more” (John 15:2). His aim isn’t to hurt us, but to conform us into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29), for our blessing and growth (Job 5:17).

Maybe you’re going through a difficult time. You’re struggling and wish the hurt and discomfort would simply go away. You can’t see how the difficulty is benefiting you or anyone else. That’s understandable. Yet, if you’re being pruned, you can look to the future with great expectation. God is making sure that you bear even more fruit. He’ll never waste your pain and suffering.

—Marlena Graves

365-day-plan: Acts 9:1-19

Read James 1:2-4 and consider what good can come from the troubles we face. 
How has God used difficult times to grow you as a person? What can you do to experience peace and joy even when pruning moments come?