Last year my dad gave me some Clematis plants to grow up a trellis in front of our house. If you are familiar with my black thumb (or the thumb of death, as I like to call it) you’ll understand my initial doubts concerning my ability to successfully cultivate this plant.
To my utter astonishment, it did grow. It grew as quickly as my dad said it would, and soon covered half of the trellis.
I didn’t trim the Clematis back in the fall. I left it all winter long, surprised it remained green in its tiny protected corner of our property.
Dad counselled me to cut it back. Not just a little, but to the ground. He assured me that it would grow back, fuller and more beautiful than before. But I was afraid.
I feared messing it up. But thankfully, I listened to the voice of wisdom. I pruned the Clematis and it did come twice as beautiful.
Read John 15:1-11
What jumps out at me from this text is the thought, “It’s either be pruned or cut off.” There are only two options and continuous “unpruned” growth is not one of them.
I am the branch, Jesus is the vine, and God the Father is the gardener. God is either cutting the unhealthy branch off the tree, or he is pruning the branch to produce more growth.
Both can be painful.
Pruning is part of the growth process. It’s how God enables me to better glorify Him in the future. He isn’t happy with half way growth that only covers part of the trellis. He wants out-of-control growth, growth that climbs high reaching toward the sun, and shoots roots deep into the soil searching for water.
That’s what I want. To always reach toward the Son and to drink from Living Water. To experience great growth under the careful pruning of the Gardner. To bloom.
Dear Lord, what are you trying to prune in me right now? May I be responsive to your touch.