The Vine and the Branches 1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.
Pruning does indeed hurt. I have been thinking about this for the past week, since our bible study on Monday night. I got to thinking about how as a gardener, (which I am most definitely NOT) one would cut back their plants to promote new growth. Sometimes this requires massive pruning, taking a plant down to the bare nub in order to produce growth. One might think that this would kill the plant and it would certainly not survive. This is not the case. The plant will come back stronger, fuller, more vibrant than before and will produce more fruit than it did before its pruning.
I evidenced this when we lived in California. The base was allowing housing occupants to obtain bushes, flowering plants and other growing items from the houses that were being torn down for use in beautifying their yards. I, with a friend drove around looking for Birds of Paradise, Calla Lily, and other flowering plants. We found the perfect specimen, a Fuschia bush. Now in California Fuschia plants grow to be huge bushes, not just hanging pot size plants. Their roots grow horizontally and send out runners to start more plants. We started to dig up the plant and realized that the roots had grown under the foundation of the house and were not going to come up. In order to get this plant we were going to have to cut its roots with an axe. We did, took it home to my yard, planted it in the front flower bed and beheld its beauty. Ahhhh.
Two days later, every leaf, bud and flower fell to the ground and all that was left was a bush of sticks, which turned brown and very stick like in a matter of days. It was so ugly and I was sad. I left it alone, mostly because I didn't know what to do. My friend, who had a lovely garden and front yard, told me to cut it back and wait. I wasn't so sure about that advice, but I did what she suggested. Winter came, it looked a lot like Fall and Spring was soon there as well. My Fuschia had grown a bit and was beginning to sprout green leaves. Soon it had pretty pink buds that turned into flowers. It turned out to be a favorite place for the hummingbirds to visit.
All that to say, sometimes God has to prune us back and there are times he takes us all the way down to what might seem like nothing. But there is Winter and then Spring and we begin to come back, healthier, fuller and more lovely. Pruning hurts, but it is always for our benefit.