Monday, May 24, 2010

Drastic Pruning

He cuts off every branch in me
that bears no fruit while every branch
that does not bear fruit,
He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

John 15:2

For ten years I lived in the wine country of northern California. Actually, I lived in a historic village on the Pacific Ocean so had the best of two glorious worlds! But, when I was a new resident I was enthralled with the beauty of the lush vineyards and the draping of fat globes of fruit. One day I came around the bend in the road and the beautiful landscape I was expecting was completely devastated. In the place of “lush” and “draping” stood row after row of barrenness. Single, stark posts marched silently over the rolling hills. In the distance rose a blue gray column; evidence of a burn pile. Pruning season had arrived.

When Jesus used this visual, he could have very well been looking out on a vineyard during pruning season. No one who heard him that day would have missed the point—pruning season takes the plant down to barrenness—pruning season involves burning. Pruning is drastic.

Driving through Anderson Valley that morning a visual was burned on my soul. With each difficulty that memory returns. Even the parts of my life that are “producing” don’t escape the pruning shears. I feel, at times, completely stripped. But, that summer I was rewarded with the effects of that brutal cut and burn season. No longer barren, each post that had stood naked was now again clothed in succulent greens, shades of amethyst with hints of sienna. Abundance was a visual I added to the former. What had been ruthlessly cut back was now getting ready to produce a bountiful harvest.

Jesus, it’s so painful but the
effect of Your pruning
is exactly what I desire.
Prune me to bear more fruit for You.

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