“And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more.” John 15:2 MSG
Pruning is painful! Okay, I realize that is a major understatement. But, at this moment and in the last few weeks, I’ve been going through something I’d really rather not go through. I have suffered disappointments and betrayal in a relationship that is significant to me. I’m sure you, too, have dealt with relationship trials and heartache. Maybe with someone you’d never expect to let you down or break your heart. It’s always those relationships that mean the most to you. I mean, if my haters or a stranger hurt me, I don’t think it would matter as much. In fact, because of who they are to me, I’d almost expect it! So, it would make sense that (because of who they are) when your loved one does something that hurts you, it cuts deep.
Pruning is uncomfortable! The pain I have endured these last two weeks put me in an uneasy space, in a space of questioning. Now that I’ve been hurt, I’ve lost trust for this person and my relationship with them. Now that God revealed their lies and intentions, I find myself uncertain about a future that was (in my mind) supposed to be long-lasting. I am dreadfully uncomfortable, not just around this person, but also with myself. Something changed inside me when I realized the deception that was taking place behind my back. Do you know what it’s like to walk in unease around someone who is supposed to put you at ease? So, I go to God every single morning and throughout my day because (if I can be real), if I didn’t, my flesh would burn it all to…well you know.
Pruning is necessary? Yes! Even as I sit here writing those three words, I can feel my fingertips shaking. Yes, like it or not (I don’t like it) PRUNING IS NECESSARY in every area of our lives, every space in our hearts, and every relationship we hold. Everything that comes from God must bear fruit. The only way for a branch to bear fruit is to be pruned. The fact that this person hurt me, lied to me, tricked me and utterly disappointed me really has nothing to do with them. Let’s be clear though, this doesn’t negate my feelings and it doesn’t justify their actions – I can (and must) forgive, but I do not have to trust them again. No, what I mean is that the altercation I had with this person was not about them, it was for me. It’s for the process of pruning me. You see, I realized that the biggest mistake we can make as believers is to think that we’ve mastered this salvation walk. Not at all! I realized that God is pruning me through this painful and uncomfortable situation, working some stuff out in me that I thought had been worked out.
Pruning is trusting! When this major let-down happened, I was angry, confused, disappointed, devastated, heartbroken…you name it. I couldn’t sleep, initially. All I could do was pray. And, it sounds nuts because the last thing you’d want to do is respond spiritually. Trust me, I wanted to lash out and let my flesh have at it. But, I just couldn’t. And, as the days went by, all I could do was trust that He who had begun a good work in me will complete it…(Philippians 1:6). There is no way out of this that doesn’t require trusting that God knows what He’s doing. Trusting that God’s got my back (and every other part of me) and He is carrying me through this process. Yes, pruning is painful, uncomfortable, and necessary; but it also births a completely different and higher level of trust in God. That I have to trust the Vine-Dresser. So, sis, through the pruning process, the necessary pain and discomfort, remember that you are also developing a deeper trust in God with every branch He cuts.