It's so interesting to watch a person who knows what they are doing when they prune the branches on a tree. They know the branches that are unfruitful so for the good of the tree, and to ensure it remains healthy and bears more fruit, they prune the unfruitful and dead branches. In the short term, it looks like a loss, and if you don’t realize the value of why and what the pruner is doing, it could be considered a loss. The reality is when the pruner has pruned the unfruitful branches, in time the tree will bear more fruit.
Our lives can be like that tree. The good news for us is the pruner is our Lord and He knows exactly what He is doing so that we bear the fruit in our lives that He created us for. Not only does He prune our unfruitful branches, but He also desires to prune the areas of our lives where we have issues like pride, deceit, judgment, unhealthy sexual issues, fear, or what is most commonly referred to as sin that has crept into our lives. When He prunes the unfruitful branches, we automatically think it's a loss, but over time, like the tree, we see where a change has taken place and we bear fruit that we didn’t even realize we had. In fairness, that kind of pruning does not hurt that much, especially when we experience the benefits.
Where we normally resist the Lord is when we feel He is nudging us to prune the areas of our lives that we don’t want pruned, which is our sin. Because He is not a bully, doesn’t treat us like robots, gives us free will, and yet being a Holy God knows what is best for us, He tries to get our attention so we can deal with our issues. He deals with us all differently but with all of us wants us to identify and rectify our sin. The deeper we are in our sin the further we are from Him. That way it's much easier for us to ignore Him and what He is trying to reveal to us.
Many theologians could say when it comes to sin He should get an axe instead of the pruner to get rid of our sin, but if that was the case there would be none of us on earth because we have all fallen short and have all sinned. Accordingly, He gives us a free choice to respond, which is why He sent His Son to earth as a sacrifice for all our sins — if we would only acknowledge our need of Him and our condition. Not only is He Holy, but, as a pruner, loving and patient, and desires above all else to walk with us every day of our lives to watch us bear fruit.
John Grady lives and writes in Fort St. John.