I am not a gardener. Over the years, I have planted trees, bushes, mini gardens, and potted flowers, but rarely do I achieve good results. I have come to the realization that I will never have a beautiful yard, because I simply do not have a green thumb. Few of the things I plant survive, and those that do must virtually be able to care for themselves!
I do well in the beginning, but then I slack off and soon everything has begun to wither from the heat and lack of water. I regain my focus and soon my flowers perk up only to wither again in a few weeks. I don’t prune for fear of killing something that has actually survived! I appreciate beautiful flower gardens and those who are blessed with the knowledge, care, and focus required to garden successfully. They understand that pruning is a process that makes a garden flourish,and they aren’t afraid to act on that knowledge.
God is the master gardener, Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. He knows exactly how to care for us and never looses focus. In John 15:1-2 Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” We are the branches; Jesus is the vine; God is the vine dresser. Jesus is the connection between us and God.
Bonsai trees do not produce fruit, but they are often pruned over decades of time to create a desired shape and size. Once that goal is reached, trimming is still necessary to maintain the proper shape for the life of the tree.
Imagine each of us as a bonsai tree that God meticulously prunes to achieve amazing results. He has a goal for each of our lives, and he patiently prunes us removing unhealthy branches in our lives. Bonsai trees are not only pruned, but also have their limbs twisted and tied into the desired shape until the plant conforms and holds the beautiful shape on its own.
For us, being pruned is often painful and not an easy process, but it helps to remember that we are being formed into the perfect image God desires. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Each twist and cut has a purpose. It may seem that our pruning is more than we can bear, but eventually we will begin to flourish as we learn to rely on him. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalms 139:14).
Thankfully, God is not a haphazard gardener like me. He takes an individual interest in each of us and cares for us personally just like the gardener cares for each branch of the vine. God loves us and has a plan for each of our lives, and the pruning that we endure serves to make us flourish spiritually.
Are you feeling the discomfort of pruning today? If so, remember that God cares for you and He is the Master Gardener.