Updated: May 25, 2019
Spent blooms covered the rose bush. It was time to deadhead my rose bushes…again. My bushes would look amazing for a few days covered in beautiful peach blossoms. But soon the flowers would wither, and it was time to take off the old blooms to encourage new ones. Was it worth all the effort? During the pruning, it didn’t feel like it. But then the new blooms would emerge reminding me with great clarity that, yes, it was worth the time and energy to see that beauty.
The work made me ponder whether God feels the same about me. Does He ever tire of pruning me to encourage new growth? Does He see more withering and decay, or is He encouraged by the new growth and beauty forming there? Some time in His Word and prayer gave me the answers and encouragement I needed.
The pruning process is uncomfortable. We don’t like the pain it brings yet the result is the beautiful promise seen in Hebrews 12:11 (ESV). “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Our Savior desires our growth and production of godly fruit for His kingdom. What He does is for our benefit. “…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2, ESV). Jesus is working to perfect our faith and although painful at times, it does not compare to the pain He endured on the cross.
As a parent, I often needed to prune in my children’s lives. What they wanted was not always what was best for them. If I saw a bud forming that was not in line with God’s will for their lives, I needed to prune it and train this tender heart in the direction of God’s Word and not the world or their own fleshly sin nature. Our Heavenly Father is a much better parent than I am, so I can trust that His pruning produces the right fruit that will bring Him honor and glory. Not only does that pruning remove the wrong things in my life, it produces a more abundant harvest by increasing my capacity and developing my potential.
I am so thankful that our Heavenly Fatherly lovingly prunes us and desires to see the fruitful harvest of godly character being produced through His vigilant and carefully directed discipline and training. May I produce a beautiful bouquet that offers a sweet-smelling savor (see II Corinthians 2:14) for His glory as I surrender to His expert pruning.