Tuesday, September 17, 2013


(From forthcoming Ch. 12)

“Every branch that bears fruit He prunes.” No exceptions. That’s what Jesus declared in John chapter 15. 

“But that hurts!” I argue. “Shouldn’t I expect His applause and commendation instead? After all, I'm trying to obey Him. I’m already bearing some fruit.”

That’s the law of the Vineyard. God the Father calls the shots. He is the Vinegrower, the Master Gardener, the Owner of the Vineyard and of the entire Orchard. He makes the rules. If I am bearing fruit, I will get pruned. Pruning isn’t punishment. It is Father God’s loving investment in me to move me forward to flourish, to bear still more fruit, then much fruit. But it seems as if in my summit years the pruning is on the increase!

God's pruning clippers are often disguised as adversity, hardship, loss, or detachment from the intrinsically good in order to bring forth the better and the best. Pruning is not willy-nilly child’s play. It must be precisely done by One who knows what He is doing. It requires skill and focused intent and gentle severity. It is often so drastic that the vines which are cut back end up appearing lifeless. It involves brokenness. But it is done for future strength not the temporary weakness that we perceive. God’s intent is to clear away the impediment of dead wood and wild new shoots that wouldn’t result in sweet fruit.

Rather than resisting Divine pruning, I should lift my branches to Him and welcome His loving, tender cultivation.


I delight to sprout new shoots!
I enjoy loud admiration from others
who try so hard to produce theirs
while I'm always pregnant with potentiality
and effervescent with possibility.

Along comes The Master Gardener

sharpening His nipper-clippers.
He starts lopping off and snipping
my upstart, grand productions.
I cry in agony to see
my precious creativity and spontaneity
treated so shamefully!

"Wild growth!" He proclaims.
"It detours the flow of My mainline life
to useless, spurious shoots."

Selectively, but tenderly, He cuts back
my prized and puffy self-efforts.
Tearfully I watch them fall
and shrivel and wither and die.
I nurse my wounded ego
dismayed to see them go.

But in time I come to see
though reluctantly and painfully
the necessity and joy of submitting
to Divine authority
and providential priority.
When ripe fruit finally bursts forth
from my remaining main-branch buds,
my strength and vigor thus conserved
God-life surges through my fewer shoots
because The Master Gardener chose
to prune my wild and wayward ways
and perform on me 
His loving, skillful surgery.

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