Carl was not happy about being on the other side of the fence. But he needed to be there as my husband cut down the grape vine that we recently discovered last summer. As Carl made himself known to us by his loud whine, we cut off the branches, pulled off the long thin climbers, and chopped the large vine down close to the ground.
Just like the grape vine, many plants need to be cut back in order to reach their full potential. Year after year, we have cut back our fig tree to see it come back with beautiful leaves and delicious fruit. So even though it looks almost impossible to believe that new vines will grow back and produce grapes, we just have to believe that they will.
It is interesting how God created plants to flourish when they are pruned back. So why shouldn’t we think that He wants to do the same with us?
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2
The word pruning means cutting or thinning. So when you think about how God prunes us, you probably aren’t thinking of a pleasant experience but one that will include some form of suffering or pain.
No one likes suffering and the physical, emotional, spiritual, or financial hardship that comes with it. But if we read this scripture again, we know it is for our good and God’s glory.
I personally would like everything to go as I plan but in the times of suffering, I can be encouraged by the fact that God is pruning me so that I will produce more fruit. And as I reflect on my life, I do believe that the hardships have molded me into someone who relies more and more on God.
Carl has also been pruned on several occasions in his life and I do believe that it has helped him to become the sweet little fella that we all love. Having his tail surgically removed was probably the severest pruning he has lived through. But even though it was extremely painful and he no longer has a tail, Carl has adjusted and become an inspiration to us all.