Saturday, March 24, 2012

A bit of pruning. ..

Isn’t it interesting how pruning, cutting off ,and removing actually leads to growth and addition?  It’s like the math is backwards.  You have to subtract in order to add.   Death precedes life.  Something has to die for life to emerge. God desires to prune us and shape us into the likeness of him, because he knows that it is ultimately better for us as individuals . . .and for His whole kingdom.

A few weeks ago I was mowing the lawn and kept getting tangled up in the trees and low-hanging, overgrown branches.  I was so annoyed with these silly trees that I decided the first thing I would do after mowing was to give a few of them a good hair cut!  They were not only in my way, but were so overgrown that they were actually inhibiting the growth of the other plants around them. . .and looking a bit ugly and gnarly.  I knew that the trimming of these trees would be a good thing- promote growth in the individual trees, as well as make the whole garden healthier and more appealing. 

So it is with Christ. He has this beautiful masterpiece in mind; like an intricate multi-dimensional puzzle that, once put together, reveals the image of him and his kingdom.  Not only will the picture  please Christ, but it will be what the world needs to see as well.  If we allow His pruning, even welcome it; not only will we benefit, but the people around us will profit.

I have noticed that for the last 6.5 months here in New Zealand the Master Gardener himself, Jesus Christ, has been doing just that. .. pruning, trimming , stripping away.  I can’t tell you whether or not he’s getting the desired result just yet (the image of his Son), for I have a feeling it’s gonna take a while.  But perhaps he smiles when he sees a slight indication, a small glimpse that the final picture is beginning to peek through.  Could it be that he has even allowed me a turn at the clippers, partnering with him in the pruning process?  God’s pruning is sometimes painful, but we need not always be combatant towards it.  I dare say that at times, God might hand us the shears and say, “You want to have a go at it? That's OK.  Give it a try. See if you can make a small cut here, or just shave off a bit over there.”

You know, often pruning happens when there is too much of a good thing.  Consider a tree. You want  one that is full and blooming, with branches that extend outward and provide shelter  for the creatures that make a home there. But when the tree is allowed to grow uncontrolled without any grooming, what once was beautiful and strong now becomes a nuisance with heavy branches that scrape the ground , clog up the gutters, and are just plain in the way. Too much of what once was a good thing has now become something that needs attention, needs removal and tidying.

Since moving to New Zealand, God has gently begun pruning away all those things in which I found my security: my family whom I adore, my friends with whom I could laugh and play, a familiar culture with which I identified myself,  a church with whom I learned and served and felt approval, and a job where I felt successful.  Back in Olathe I was known.  I was understood.  I was home. Life was a glorious mish mash of joy and heart-ache, all within the security of a family who knew me from the inside out and friends and co-workers who seemed to ‘get me’. 

But now I find myself 10,000 miles away, unable to rely upon any of that.  And though I have mourned the loss of my old life and cried like a baby at times, I rejoice when I hear the whisper of the Lord, “Step up here with me.  Let’s take the higher road.  You’ve got too much baggage, excess weight.  Release the old affections.  Lose the attachments.  There’s no room for them on this narrow way. The view up here is exquisite, but there’s no way you’re gonna fit up here with all that stuff. ”

So, I hereby declare myself being pruned. Not sure how long it will last, probably my whole lifetime. But I’d rather look like Jesus when its all said and done, so it’s worth it.

1 comment:

  1. That's great, Alison! Our pastor today preached on the verses in John 12 (24-26) where Jesus speaks about the seed dying to bring more life & not loving our lives, but using them. Thanks so much for the encouragement & for your brave following of our Lord & Savior!!