“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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 15:1-2
When I read this familiar passage in John this past week, I was struck by the obviousness of the truth that had been before me all along. Even when we ARE being fruitful for the Kingdom; even when we are growing and flowering in Him; even then the gardener PRUNES us so that we will be even more fruitful. I have been pruned lately, but I didn’t realize it until just a few weeks ago.
I always considered myself a loving person. The last two years of high school especially I strove to look at people with Jesus’ eyes and to love them with the kind of compassion and love that He had. But even so, I wasn’t living up to my FULL potential. I was holding people at a distance, and many of those that I looked upon kindly could never have done me personal harm. If anyone did hurt me, my modus operandi was to pretend that I didn’t care, and with a show of false pride I held myself at a distance. But since those times, there have been people in my life who have hurt me, and from whom it is impossible to hold myself at a distance.
Pruning is the same as cutting you know, and I have been walking this road long enough to know that pruning hurts. But do not be discouraged! Do not feel like God is punishing you; He is just making you into a healthy shoot so that you can bear fruit even MORE abundantly for His Kingdom.
I was forced to love far beyond what I thought was possible. And truly, I am not capable. Only God can give me the power to love as much as hurting people need to be loved; and only God can teach me to love people as much as I need to love them. I am now reaping the beginning of the crop, but newer and sweeter fruits are yet to come.
But still it isn’t easy. He has broken off my hardened shell and my skin is ripe for the bruising. More now that ever I must Trust that the God of the Universe is sufficient. He made me for this—-and I have never felt so unworthy of so mighty a Gift. To Love as the Father loves, to weep for a dying world, and to give the gift of God’s love to people everyday because it is what fuels the beating of my bleeding heart. Pour out Love, you’ll never run dry, just so long as you are connected to the Vine.