This year I have tried something new. Gardening. We planted a rose-bush, some azaleas and a vegetable garden. The veggies did pretty well and the azaleas are okay, but what has really done well is my rose-bush. It was a cheap rose-bush from Wal-Mart, so I wasn’t really expecting much, coupled with the fact that I have NO idea what I am doing with a rose-bush. But surprisingly, it has done really well. All I have done is water it and feed it every now and again, and it has taken off. I have blooms every few weeks. They are beautiful pink color.
Jordan, my second son, asked me the other day what my favorite thing about summer was. His was the pool in our neighborhood, but mine was the rose-bush. He was like “really mom?” (he’s four and has no idea why I would like a rose-bush so much). But I was serious. I have so enjoyed going out there and seeing it every day. It never fails to make me smile. It is truly one of God’s most beautiful creations. I was deadheading the rose-bush today (for those of you who don’t know what that means, it’s a fancy way to say cutting off the roses that have already bloomed out) and I was thinking about the cycle of a rose. It begins as a bud, tiny and full of potential. Then it starts to bloom and slowly opens into the most beautiful rose. Then after a day or two it fades and gets wilted and ugly. It’s much like the cycle from infancy to adulthood and finally death. Sorry for everyone who is elderly and assumed I just called you wilted and ugly. I didn’t, I promise.
Anyway, it also made me think about our Christian life. After the rose blooms, I cut it off the plant. This seems counterproductive. And when I read this is what you should do if you want more roses, I was unsure about it. The first time I did this, I thought “well, I may have just killed my rose-bush, but it was cheap anyway”. The plant looked ugly with the blooms all cut off. But after a few weeks I noticed that leaves were growing where I had made the cuts. Then slowly buds appeared again and finally opened into roses. The plant also grew a lot! It was so cool. I bought my mom the same rose-bush, at the same time and she planted it in her yard. She has not deadheaded the roses and the plant is still tiny and has only bloomed a few times.
This is similar to what God does with us. He prunes away the places in our lives that had become dead or that we need to change. It is painful and we don’t like it. We wonder why we must go through such a process. But then after some time of healing a bud begins to appear in our lives. That thing that God has pruned away has a new thing in its place. And a beautiful flower has replaced the ugly and dead one.
“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.” John 15:2
Are we grateful for God’s pruning process? Do we complain about the pain in our lives? Or do we realize that God is just trying to make us better. What ways is God pruning your life right now? Can you see the good in the pain? Look forward to the beautiful flower that God will make out of those parts of your life that have dried up and withered away. God prunes those He loves. If you have not experienced any pruning lately, you should examine your relationship with God. Be glad for the pruning, it means God sees potential in you and is making you more like Himself.