I am no gardener. I guess I should be an OK gardener because I used to help mum in the garden when I was young and I do have a garden, and I really should spend more time in it. But life is busy and so I keep the grass down and cut the honeysuckle regularly, mistaking it for a weed and upsetting Sally each time!
Today I pruned some of the new branches that were growing out of the side of the apple tree in the front garden. At my most basic level of understanding this is to ensure that the branches that are left have good fruit on them next year.
Jesus used a similar illustration “every branch that bears fruit [my Father] prunes so that it will be even more fruitful”. As I clipped off the new healthy little branches I thought that if I were the tree I would be saying “Ouch, that hurts” every time the blades sliced through my flesh. Then I thought how I often say “Ouch” to God when he prunes an unneeded new growth on me. For a start, I would say that it may be unneeded to you Lord, but I’m quite happy with it. It doesn’t bother me and I actually quite like just letting my life grow all over the place and in all sorts of directions. But he clearly says no, and it hurts when those shears take away what has become a part of my life. Oh, to have the patience and understanding to accept he knows better than me. These days it appears handing over our lives to anyone but ourselves is considered anathema!
And then there were little teeny, tiny shoots that I snicked off as well. And I thought of me saying, “O come on, surely that teeny, tiny thing I do or enjoy can’t be such a big deal?” It is not a new thing that expects trees to bow to their gardener’s will, and it is no new thing that expects creatures to trust that their creator knows precisely what he is up to.