I love gooseberry jam. I hate gooseberry bushes. The shrubs have vicious thorns and at this time of year need pruning. Even with heavy gloves, the thick thorns poke through as to try to keep me from doing my job. Old, gnarly canes along with those which are too low to the ground and those who touch others have to get cut. After taking the prickly branches out, I usually have to spent time taking thorns out of my hands.
Today, while in the kitchen nursing my sores, I wondered if I (like my gooseberry bushes) give God that much trouble when He prunes things out of my life. I can get rather prickly when it comes to God taking things.
God is the Master Gardener and Vinedresser. He knows what has to go – what can stay. Sometimes His pruning seems senseless, especially when he takes things that took time to grow. Sometimes it’s a wrong idea I have lived with for a long time. Sometimes it has been comfort and security. Often it has been prideful reliance on me rather than Jesus.
“Father, help me to surrender my stubborn will to your loving care, your discipline, and your pruning. Help me to abide in Jesus and in the Truth of your Word. Show me how to give you willingly what you don’t desire for me to keep and trust that you have fruit in mind which I cannot yet see.”
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Jesus in John 15:1-5 (ESV)