There are times during spiritually fruitful seasons when the Lord just seems to bless us tremendously! These blessings look different from one person to the next. Still, in all we enjoy the abundance He provides. But some of us have seen the fruit of our labor in the Lord plucked in great quanity and frequency from our branches. To add to our apparent loss we’ve endured the pruning of the Gardner’s clippers. The strong, productive branch which reached farther than we could imagine is cut back; strategically, mercifully, but uncomfortably close to the trunk. The gaps are grossly apparent; there are no leaves to cover the empty space left behind. After a few years, another branch springs even farther with a greater crop. But again, the Gardner prunes the branch back. The meager foliage and shorter branches make this plant look barren, useless and of no significance.
Stout and strong is the base. All the nutrients from the soil, water and sun filter deep into the roots strengthening the core. The hard rain and gale winds do not move the steady plant. Dry heat and long drought barely touch the deep core of moisture and life within. The floods come, but they do not move the roots which have grown deep into the earth, unseen by the observer above. The plant learns the fruit it bears belongs to the Gardner and Him alone. The plant learns not to hold on longer than it should and to let go with joy. It graciously accepts; nothing it produces is of its own or for its own. So it rejoices when its branches are removed and grafted into another work of His hands. It is pleased with the fluffy leaves and golden fruit on the neighboring plant. It is not in the least bit less fruitful, beautiful or significant. It is loved all the more by the Gardner who always sees fit to spend extra time grooming it.
Even though it seems the Lord gives and takes away, rest assured He is working in us a greater work for a greater season ahead. We may not see it now, perhaps not until we are in His presence, but He is working it out for our good and His good pleasure all the same. We should not worry about what we look like to others or even to ourselves. If we are abiding in Him, we will bear His fruit for His glory!
John 15:5, 8–9 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”