Monday, October 17, 2011

Lessons From a Rosebush...or, Is It Pruning Season Again?

I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away.
And every one that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken to you.
John 15:1-3

I don’t know about you, but this isn’t usually what I picture when I think of a rosebush.  Not many stoop to admire bare canes studded only with thorns.  

But the caretaker of this rosebush appreciates the work he has done in order to sculpt a living, growing masterpiece.  He knows that a lack of pruning will create a spindly, weak plant.

He has a vision for the beautiful and useful plant it will be when the pruning is over, colorful buds begin to re-appear and the powerful fragrance it gives will attract birds, bees and us when it is once again in full bloom.
The funny thing about pruning a rosebush is that it’s done just when the plant seems to be at its most beautiful--full of large, boldly-colored, intricate blooms.   The husbandman, in his wisdom, decides when and how much to prune each plant and for what reasons according to its individual needs.  Pruning a plant too early or too late can have devastating effects. 

Like the regal rosebush, we who are the children of the King find ourselves in varying stages of growth.  Some are newly planted and some are full of energy and ready to begin blooming. 

Some are full of growth and busy being pollinated by birds and bees or being picked by a child to give to his mother.  Some are being carried down the aisle by a bride and others are being used as a perfume or a healing medicine.  Some inspire song lyrics (or part of a band’s name), and some are being showcased in paintings and admired by many. 

And some have been pruned and lie dormant.

Pruning for the rosebush is as easy as sitting still.  Pruning for us can be a little more painful.  Sometimes it can be so painful we aren’t sure we’ll survive it. 

Pruning can come in the form of trials through financial loss, relationship struggles, in sickness, the death of a loved one or removal from a ministry.  It can come through sacrifice like a move across the country or world. 

All these can cut into our flesh and leave gaping wounds.  But the Caregiver of our souls binds up our wounds with His Word, applies the Son and fresh water through His Holy Spirit.  And when we are filled up and the time is right, we will begin to bloom again. 

We can’t see all the reasons why pruning comes at the time it does and why we sometimes have to be cut back so far.  But God knows the reasons.
Some Reasons to Prune Rosebushes and Us

1. To remove old, dead and damaged wood;

            Sometimes a part of our lives may be over, or we may have allowed some bad attitudes, like unforgiveness, to creep in and damage our faith, and they need to be cut away to allow for new and exciting things to begin growing.

2. To shape the plant;

            God shapes us as we mature so that we grow up in all areas and no part of us is lacking.

3. To remove canes that are growing in the wrong direction;

            Sometimes we may pick up some wrong thinking about who God is.  We learn to put away these false ideas about Him as He reveals who He really is so that we can know, love and worship the One, True God.

4. To encourage vigorous blooming and new, healthy shoots;

            Sometimes we feel like we’re cut down in the prime of our service to the Lord.  But God knows that we will be even more useful and more capable when we identify with the Lord in His suffering and so adopt His mind, His humility, and His heart toward people.  God changes our attitudes so that we are even more productive than before.

Whatever the individual reasons for our pruning, it is all meant to clean us up.  I find it interesting that in the verses in John above, the word for prune has the same meaning as the word for clean in the last verse.  What seems to us to be meaningless pain and suffering is really the Lord cleansing and preparing us during a time when we are still and listening intently to Him as we read His Word.  He grooms us so that we will reflect His beauty and magnify His Name. 

Wherever we are in our growth, we will soon find ourselves in another season, many times one we didn’t expect.  But God has a vision for you and me.  He knows each of our needs and how best to accomplish His plans. 

As we realize more and more that there is indeed a master plan, we can grow to appreciate the beauty of every stage of growth, offering comfort to others, being patient with ourselves and trusting in God's loving and wise hand.    

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Dorci, just what I needed to hear. Pruning for me is always hard but I must keep in mind who the Gardner is. My Loving, Caring Master and Savior - Jesus Christ. May I glorify Him while He shapes and directs my growth. I need to bloom where I am planted. Love you, Ann


Thanks for sharing!