Pruning - Ouch

Yesterday, a bunch of guys came out with big equipment to prune our huge pecan trees in the backyard. They are glorious, their branches and leaves stretching far to twine fingers with each other. Those branches and leaves are their beauty, the visual representation of their strength, but they need to be tempered.

The farther out the branches go, the more branches and the more leaves spread, the more of the tree's sustenance goes out to the edges of those long branches, taking it away from the the main part of the tree, where sustenance is most needed.

Time to be pruned.

One of our backyard trees.

We are not different. The more we take on and get involved in, the more our strength has to go to the outer parts, those activities or secondary priorities or even ministries, while the core of who we are, our souls, do not get what we need.

A tree that is not pruned will eventually lose branches as they fall off, sometimes causing great damage. Or the tree dries up, not able to keep growing or thriving.

A person not pruned has stress, and eventually burnout.

I've always understood the pruning concept in the sense that I needed it sometimes, but yesterday I watched and saw something amazing. We, the tree owners, put the money into the pruning. The men we hired did the work. The tree's job? Just to endure. That tree had no part in the pruning except to let it happen. All of the work and decision making was done by those responsible for its care.

From our perspective as God's children, sometimes a pruning may feel like it's coming at a wrong time, or is unfair because the tree next door is allowed to keep growing. We feel less, we feel our identity has been taken, we feel God is punishing us or denying us happiness or doesn't want us to enjoy a feeling of fulfillment.

But God sees farther than we can from our position. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows when what we are doing, however glorious and yes, even God-honoring it may look, sometimes those very things are taking away from us getting our sustenance from God alone, and letting that sustenance go to what is needed in the core, rather than the branches.

If you find yourself being pruned, do not despair. There is purpose, and that purpose is good. It is to help you grow better. All you need to do is let God be in charge. Let Him prune you. Endure. All is well.

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 bears fruit He prunes, 
that it may bear more fruit.   
Jesus, John 15:1-2

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