Yesterday there was a short but furious thunderstorm near our house. It started when I was in the grocery store, paused for a brief moment and then let loose beyond belief on my way home. It was one of those summer rain storms with lightning and thunder and downpour so thick your windshield wipers are on full blast and your still straining to see the car infront of you. I hate driving in storms and I was clutched to the wheel praying for protection all the way home. The storm caused an accident on the road a head of me so I had to turn around in a neighborhood and plan another way home. Taking back roads I was nearly there when my phone started ringing. There was no way I could answer it in that storm with my hands glued to the steering wheel so I let it ring until I got home. And found the tree in our front yard split in half.
The call was from my neighbor who witnessed the storms winds break the tree into two. My heart sank into my throat. The tree was a Bradford Pear about 14 years old. It was planted on Mother’s day as a gift for my oldest daughter. We have a second Bradford Pear planted near it that was planted on another Mother’s day for my middle daughter. So that each of my daughter’s had their own tree. My son, who is now 5 and we hadn’t planted a tree for him yet is always asking where his tree is. My husband who seeing and hearing the storm had brilliantly sent everyone downstairs did not hear the tree fall. So as I walked into the house I hunted him down and sent him outside. His heart broke too. “Kelly”, he said,” I don’t know what we do.” Well I knew what we needed to do I just didn’t want to do it. I called a tree service. The kind assessor was their within a half hour and plans were made to cut down the remainder of tree, trim my middle daughters tree and have a tree removed that had been growing out the side of the house for a few years we couldn’t get rid of.
This morning they came and completed all their tasks and well my yard looks so bare now. The birds were wandering around it wondering where their homes and big block of birdseed went. My oldest daughter seemed to be ok except she said, “I don’t like how everything is changing!” I agreed. But reflecting on this whole situation gave me some insights on pruning in general. We had planed on pruning this particular tree soon. We initially were going to do it in spring but with the stay inside orders and Covid 19 about we put it off till this fall. The tree was definitely overdue for pruning. Which is part of why it didn’t survive. God prunes us because he wants us to outlast the storms of life. Some storms are so big they just break you in two and their are people in this world that without God will never recover from those storms. They are just barely surviving, broken. God doesn’t want us in that state. That is why he lovingly prunes us.
“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit he (repeatedly) prunes, so that it will bear more fruit, (even richer, finer fruit).” John 15:2 AMP Being pruned is hard. Its taking off old ways and putting on new ways. Do you want to bear fruit? I sure do. I look at the physical ailments I have had to wrestle with and see God using these things to prune me. Before I suffered I never really thought about those who were wheelchair bound or had a handicap placard. God gave me greater compassion for those by placing me temporarily in their shoes.
I recently had to give up drinking coffee and I love coffee. But it did not help me physically. That has been a pruning experience for me. I have been praying for a while about being more healthy. Well that was one thing that had to go. I am thankful for pruning. Storms in life are still hard. But I’ve learned to put my trust and joy in the Lord during them. Pruning teaches you that. It gives you an undying hope in the mist of trouble. When it becomes evident in your life that something is just not working, its time to let it go. It can be a thought process, a habit, a mindset. Don’t resist the pruning. you want to make it though the storm and bear good fruit.