Our side yard is a butterfly magnet. At least, it was last summer.
You know how much I love butterflies, Lord! So You filled the side yard of our mountain retreat with Butterfly Bushes. Last summer, they were a favorite “hang out” for countless winged beauties!
Today, they had only two words in their vocabulary. Two words they seemed to shout at me: “PRUNE ME!”
So I did.
I didn’t really know what I was doing. My initial objective was to just snip off the old flowers that had dried to a prickly, brown mess. But when I got close enough to snip, I noticed the spindly branches supporting the dead flowers. New green leaves had sprouted, but the new growth had gone from sturdy branch to tiny twig. Growth happening helter-skelter, on branches that grew increasingly smaller and more fragile. An undergrowth of dead branches that had been obscured by a top layer of green. Each bush’s future possibilities dwindling before my eyes.
So I cut… deep.
Is that what You do, Abba, when You know it’s time to prune us?
“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)
What am I to say? Thank You, I think? No… thank You, I know. Since You promise to produce more fruit in the long run, surely I can accept the temporary “wounds” Your pruning may produce in the short run. Besides, I can trust every such “owie” is lovingly “inflicted” for my good, and that You are right there to kiss each one and make it all better!
I looked at my “handiwork” today and had… doubts. Did I cut too much? Did I cut in the right (or wrong) places? Did I end up helping or hurting these bushes? Will this be like the proverbial haircut? (If I don’t like it, don’t worry… it will grow back.)
Thankfully, I can rest easy where You are concerned… right, Abba?
You see every unsightly dead branch in me that’s just taking up space. You remember every piece of “fruit” You lovingly produced in me that gave You such pleasure last season. You know exactly where and when to prune those fruitful branches so You can rejoice over them even more in the next season. You put Your best into me and You know just how to bring it out of me — for Your sake, my sake and the sake of all those You desire to touch through me.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
I’ll be watching my Butterfly Bushes with a great deal of anticipation, as the growing season advances.
Not unlike how You’ll be watching me, Lord?
“He will not let your foot slip — He who watches over you will not slumber… the Lord is your shade at your right hand… The Lord will keep you from all harm — He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:3,5,7-8)
Yielding to the Master Gardener…