One morning while I was taking my daughter to the bus stop while it was still dark, we pulled out of the garage to meet a huge branch lying across the driveway. I reluctantly got out of the car to remove our obstacle and the wind about carried me away! For the remainder of the day the winds blew anywhere from 25-50 miles an hour.
It hadn’t been too long ago that my neighbor asked me if I knew why we always seemed to have dead branches lying in our front yards. I didn’t give it much thought – other than the branch died and fell off. The thought did not occur to me then, until this morning when I heard the mighty winds of winter blow, and I witnessed the snapping of branches strewn across my yard – God has his own way of pruning nature. He sends the winds to cut and strips bare the unfruitful growth.
Usually I think of God gently pruning, but this fierce wind had no mercy. Psalm 135:5 says, “I know the LORD is great, that our God is greater than all gods. The LORD does whatever pleases him in the heavens and on the earth…he brings out the wind from his storehouses.” When I think of things stored up…like in my grandma’s freezer, things that are “stored up” can effusively gush out.
As we have witnessed with hurricanes, there are times God just lets lose the wind and stirs up nature, matter, and anything in its’ path. He stirs up the forest so the trees roar commanding our attention. In my neighborhood, between our homes lined up horizontally to the woods in the back, it forms a tunnel, and the wind’s force creates the sound of a freight train passing through.
God not only prunes physically in nature, but scripture tells us he prunes us spiritually. I was reminded by another author this week to remember that I was in the hands of the Master Gardener. He makes no mistakes about the methods of his pruning. I realized I need to expect the pruning as I would a blessing, for it is in disguise. For my life to bear more fruit, I needed to receive the pruning and let God have his way – however painful. When we yield to the season of pruning it is a natural, spiritual cycle that promises to bud, blossom, and bring forth a harvest of righteousness.
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful…Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain on the vine…apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned….But this is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:1-8).
Are you ready for when the violent winds come your way to yield to God’s perfecting work? Whether by a fierce wind or unknowingly by a gentle stirring, bend and sway, with a thankful heart and let him break the branches that no longer bear fruit. You might be wondering what in your life needs to be pruned. God seems to cut out the things we do that are no longer giving him much glory. God often uses change to bring his pruning to help us see what is really important in this life and to show us what has eternal value.For some of us it’s the things we are dependent on for our security. Often they are our “crutches” like a wooden stick we find on a walk to lean on….the temporary things of this world that we hold so tightly…like money. From our pruning, we are learning to be better stewards of God’s money.
We had tons of branches to pick up, but I was thankful for these tiny pruning’s instead of one big tree! To say the least, 2010 has been a very eventful winter and a challenging year in our lives. And as I speak with my friends, we are all ready for spring to arrive. And with the promise of spring, silently with the warmth of the sun the spirit-life sap comes forth with new life, leaves, buds, blossoms, and abundant fruit – more than we know. Oh – we can’t wait to see what God will bring forth.