Pruned Like an Apple Tree

In John 11:6 Jesus hears that Lazarus was sick and about to die. Jesus’s response was to wait two more days. I briefly talk about this on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/p/BTuogAvh9KL/) so feel free take a quick detour and read that.

Today I want to quickly look at John 15:2 where Jesus says that every branch that bears He (the Father) prunes, that it may bear more fruit. I am not a gardener but I have been told that that is an accurate statement about how you get a plant to produce more. I think that is fine for plants but I am not sure I like it for me. To be honest the pruning process is hard and often long.

I have recently been thinking that the last few years have been a pruning process for me. I have grown tremendously and while I am thankful for that the process has been painful. There has been long days and nights, lonely days, thankless work, removal of selfish desires and plans, and so on. I am not perfect by any stretch but I am better off than I was before the process started.

This is not at all to say the whole time has been painful as there have been some bright spots but overall, I think it was a pruning process. I am still not sure I like it. Again, I am thankful for it but that does not mean I need to like it. The question I have is why does God prune us if we are bearing fruit?

Well in short, because He loves us and because He is a good Father. He prunes because we are producing and wants us to produce more. It is an odd thing but it works. Think of in terms of apples. If you are currently producing 5 apples then that is good. But God being a good gardener sees your potential and wants you to live up to that potential so He prunes you back a bit and next year your produce 10 apples. This harvest is even better so the process repeats. Next thing you know you are producing bushels up on bushels. Now all the trees in the garden are envious and want to be like you, yet they do not know the pain that was endured to produce so much but you do and you know it was worth it.

God is good like that. He wants the best for you and sometimes the best requires pain to get there. I am not sure this season of pruning is over. I would like it to be but if not, I still trust that God is good and that He has the best for me. The funny thing is that even if this season is over there will be another later on. I suppose that is good news even though I still don’t like it. Of course, the alternative is not be pruned and not produce fruit but we know how that goes

Just a thought,

Mike

Thought on Kempis thought.

Thoughts Helpful in the Life of the Soul
Chapter 12: The Love of Solitude and Silence:

“Hence, for many it is better not to be too free from temptations, but often to be tried lest they become too secure too filled with pride, or even to eager to fall back upon external comforts.” – Thomas Kempis

I both like and dislike silence and in our modern day it is easier to not have silence than to have it. I like the silence because it is in the quiet that I can hear the voice of God, but it is also in the silence that I hear the voice of temptation and accusation. Thomas Babington Macaulay said “The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out” and I must admit that at times I am afraid of myself. I am not so much afraid of what I would do but what I am capable of doing and in the silence those fears can be seen. I am aware that it is also in that same silence God is pruning and bringing things to the surface so they can be dealt with but the pruning is painful while it happens so I wish to avoid the pain. But at the same time I desire the pruning because it will continue to remove those things I desire removed. It is a sad state to be sure; to desire the thing you do not want in order to be the one you wish to be. Maybe that is what is meant in Hebrews 12:2 where it saysFor the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Christ had to do nothing to be God but in order for us to be reconciled (which He desired) He had to endure the cross. So too must I take up my cross not to be reconciled but to continue to prune away those things which are not fitting for a child of the King.