It's almost that time of year when the roses need to be pruned. They still have a few blooms, but they are looking very raggedy. Not at all like the brilliantly flourishing bushes of mid-summer.
I'm a tough pruner. As pruning time approaches some of the rose bushes have branches that have grown to over 6 feet tall, and I cut them down to less than a foot in height.
A horticulturalist taught me a few very useful things about pruning roses....
For thirteen years I have followed this regime. Often when people visit our home in July/August they mention the 'severity' of my pruning, and ask do they really grow back? Yes they do, bigger and with more magnificent blooms.
Why this information about pruning roses?
When I was in NZ, I attended a church service and the message was on John 15:1-15.
Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:2 NKJV
Towards the end of the message the preacher said something like, "The reward for fruit is more pruning... Pruning means that God is pleased with you... Pruning leads to growth, it is not a punishment.
I don't know about you, but for me the seasons of pruning can be a bit confusing and painful.
From my experience when the pruning season is approaching there is a sense that something is changing. It may not be absolutely clear what is changing and why it is changing. Fear may try to rise up and cause confusion. It is in these times that I remind myself of these truths ...
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. 1 Corinthians 14:33 NKJV
As the pruning starts my go-to places are God's Word, and praise & worship. Reading His word - to understand why this pruning is taking place, finding answers to what is it that God is wanting to do in me. Praise and worship - to allow the Holy Spirit to minister to the pain and grief as God prunes, and to help me keep my eyes focused on Him and the end goal of becoming more like Christ.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV
And remind myself that ...
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. Hebrews 10:39 NIV
Please don't think I am saying that I love and embrace pruning seasons. I haven't reached that place yet, and maybe never will. I have moments of doubts, fears and tears. But I know enough to know that God doesn't cut and run. No, He gently prunes in exactly the right places, the places where there is the hint of the bud that He wants to see bloom, because it will bring the fruit He desires from our lives.
Philippians 3:13-14 from The Message bible says it this way ...
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. Philippians 3:13-14 The Message
Heavenly Father, thank you that you have a plan and purpose for our lives. Thank you that you are faithful in every season. Thank you that always know what is best for us. Please help us to trust you more in the pruning seasons and embrace the change you bring into our lives, knowing that you will work everything together for good for those who love you and have been called according to your purpose. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
For more information please visit https://wendyrobinson.com.au