Waiting for the Pruning to Work

Together we walked through the barrenness the shears had brought us, only I had the capacity to wonder for the both of us if we would ever be fruitful again.

I spent all of last year studying and teaching the Gospel of John, and I still can’t get John’s Gospel out of my head. (I may have even cried when our final bible study met, if that’s any sign of how much I loved studying the book). It dogs my days in a good way, reminding me who Jesus is and compelling me to continue to trust him today, tomorrow, and the next day. But as I watched those pruned trees all summer, John 15 echoed sweet comfort in my ear.

 

We have some trees in our front yard that Daniel pruned many months ago. After he took to them with the pruning shears, the trees were barely recognizable. Even our children were shocked at their nakedness. It was glaringly obvious that no sign of life was coming from those trees anytime soon.

“I think this will work,” he said.

For him, “working” meant that the trees would come back stronger—full of beauty and greenery. He’s a budding landscaper, so he knew that this could only happen through cutting out every sign of fruitfulness from the tree. I’ve been staring at those bare trees for a long time, and in God’s providence, those trees bore the signs of their pruning at the same time I was wondering if I would bear the signs of mine. Together we walked through the barrenness the shears had brought us, only I had the capacity to wonder for the both of us if we would ever be fruitful again.

I don’t know when I started seeing those white flowers bud, but suddenly those trees are no longer sad reminders of their former state. They have new flowers—new life. In their fruitfulness, I find hope that maybe I will bud alongside them, seeing my barrenness turn to life again.

I spent all of last year studying and teaching the Gospel of John, and I still can’t get John’s Gospel out of my head. (I may have even cried when our final bible study met, if that’s any sign of how much I loved studying the book). It dogs my days in a good way, reminding me who Jesus is and compelling me to continue to trust him today, tomorrow, and the next day. But as I watched those pruned trees all summer, John 15 echoed sweet comfort in my ear.

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 branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. – John 15:1-8

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