Grapes…big, juicy, sweet grapes! Who doesn’t like grapes? My 2 year old son loves them and has been known on occasion to help himself to the fridge and confiscate the whole container of grapes. When I find him hiding with his plunder, he grins and tries to run away from me with the bowl. Imagine the scenario…yep, you got it! We have, more than once, had to pick up dozens of grapes that ended up scattered on the floor after an escaping Sean dropped the bowl.
I have learned to relocate the plunder to the highest shelf in the fridge where Sean can’t reach them. Oh, what fun exploits we enjoy!
Our big, juicy grape adventures correlate well with a book I recently read about pruning the vines called Secrets of the Vine, by Bruce Wilkinson. A short, but fantastic read, Wilkinson helped me to understand more about pruning grapevines and how the seemingly backwards process works. I mean, cut off branches in order to produce a more bountiful grape harvest?? It seemed paradoxical to me at first, but know I understand the process.
When I finished reading the book, the following question lingered in my mind as I pondered all that I had learned: who would ever choose to be pruned? Even the word prune has a negative connotation. Maybe that’s why we are not in control of the shears…
Ask any vineyard owner and he or she will tell you that pruning is the only way to increase the size of the harvest. A grape branch left alone will produce only a small yield. In time, the branch will stop producing all together. Pruning is a necessary vice that the vineyard owner uses to get the most from his or her vineyard. Ouch!
In a similar way, pruning in our lives is a necessary means that God uses to get the most fruit from us. We would grow stagnate in our spiritual lives if God did not occasionally cut away those things in our lives that get in the way of us becoming all that God wants us to be. It may be the loss of a job or a major life change that God uses to clear the path for a more bountiful fruit harvest.
Even though every trial we endure is not the result of pruning, trials are an opportunity to let God work in our lives so that we can live abundantly. However, we know that God, in His infinite wisdom, never prunes us until we are able to endure the shears. He knows the perfect time to cut away the old branches so we can bear more fruit for Him. Throughout this process, He is a gracious and merciful Father!
So the next time you feel the shears snipping away in your life, pay attention to where it hurts. God may be speaking to you…
“The pain of pruning comes now, but the fruit comes later.” Pg. 75, Bruce Wilkinson, Secrets of the Vine
“Pain is the megaphone God uses to rouse a deaf world.” CS Lewis