It was a work day for us yesterday. We were busy with taking loads of brush to the city brush disposal and junk to the landfill that has been piling up waiting for an opportunity to get loaded into our "borrowed for the day" trailer. I love getting rid of stuff like that. I also gave my Japanese Flowering Shrub a much needed haircut. Ah....that felt good too. This year my bush flowered like never before. It almost looked like it was ablaze as its little coral-colored flowers screamed beauty beneath the rich foliage. Joy. Seeing things return after a long winter (albeit not as long as previous winters) is such an amazing thing to witness.
Anyway, the bush. Blossoms done, branches looking long and scraggly, it was time for the annual trim. Tools in hand, I set out to work. It gives me such pleasure to shape this bush. I couldn't help but marvel at how lush this bush has gotten in the 5 years that I have been tending to it. My mind likes to wander as I am doing tasks such as this, and I found myself thinking about the scripture in John 15 that talks about this sort of thing. Branches, vines, pruning, bearing fruit. I began thinking about how important it is that we prune. With my beautiful bush, it has allowed for a harvest of coral blossoms like I never even imagined.
In my life, abiding in Christ and God's pruning is the only way that I will bear fruit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22). As I was snipping off branches, I began to consider what I know God has pruned from my life. There have been things, some painful, some not so much. But, I thought about the purpose. So that I will bear fruit. So that I am shaped into what I was intended for. I thought about the fact that as I am trimming away, I am not doing it to be hurtful to the bush. On the contrary. It is so that it succeeds at being the best bush it can be. Come next spring, I will prune again. And so too it is with me. My Father knows when it is time to trim up the scraggly ends of my life, when more shaping needs to happen. And, I wonder if the joy I feel trimming away, shaping, nurturing this little bush is echoing the joy that my Father feels as He shapes me for His glory. Hmmm......good things to ponder.