Clip, clip, chop, chop…flamboyant pink roses go flying through the air. It is pruning season in my front yard. All spring and summer I am complimented by neighbors and passersby on the beautiful rose bushes lining the front porch. Then comes the dreadful season of pruning the bushes where they lay dormant in silence during the winter. Brown dead like twigs coming out of the ground, they endure cold winds, sleet and powdery snow. But come next year, they blossom again ever more abundant than the year before.
Pruning. That’s what God also does in our lives as believers. Jesus said, “… every branch that does bear fruit he prunes that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2
Ouch! If we have fruitful lives because we know God personally through Jesus and continue to walk with him then why do we need to be pruned?
Jesus explained, “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” John 15:8
Pruning brings more fruit. God is glorified when we show more love, more peace, more patience with people and more verbal witness of our faith in Him. We show the world His glory just like the roses on my rose bush. The winter season can seem long at times. Winter seems dark, cold and silent. God may seem far away, but He is always near. He has allowed this time for much silence so eventually we can produce much fruit. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
There have been times in my life where there was silence, waiting, and not much fruit. No blogs to write, no answers to prayer, no Bible studies to lead, no direction for the future. So what do I do in these times? I draw upon what I know about God as a loving Father and accept this time from His loving hand. But here are some steps I can take as well:
1. Spend time soaking up nutrients from God’s Word. Meditate on Bible verses that remind me of God’s love and faithfulness. “Trouble and anguish have come upon me but your commandments are my delight.” Psalm 119:143
2. Pray, pray, and keep praying. God may feel distant but He is there. He is hiding me in the shadow of His wings from the winter storm. “In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge.” Psalm 57:1; “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1
3. Listen to what God is teaching me and write it down in my journal, so that when spring comes again I can share what God has taught me in the dark. “I have made the Lord God my refuge that I may tell of all your works” Psalm 73:28
4. Praise God and thank Him that I can trust his purposes even in the dark times. “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice, let them ever sing for joy.” Psalm 5:11
This week “I will bless the Lord at all times…” (Psalm 34:1) whether it is winter or the coming of spring again. “Weeping may last for the night but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
Are you going through a pruning season? What have you done to make God your refuge in times of pruning? What is He teaching you during this time? What abundant fruit has He produced?