I was reading the book of John this morning, and I came across John 15:1-2. I’ve read this before, but something about it struck me more distinctly this time. These are the words of Jesus:
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.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the nature of pain in life. I’m one of many people who get hung up on the idealistic thought that life should/could/would (if…) be pain-free, at least relatively. And yet day after day, week after week, there’s something that pains me, something that makes me get upset or emotional, some crap that tears me down.
Then, when I read that passage, I see that Jesus says we’ve got two paths in life:
- Get cut off
- Get pruned
There is no third choice. Does that strike anyone? It sure strikes me. I keep having to relearn this over and over and over again, but the message is basically this: No matter what happens, everywhere you go and everything you do will bring you pain. That pain is either going to be the clipping shears cutting you off from the Vine, or pruning you down.
I should pray for pruning. He’ll do it, and it’ll hurt, but it’s a lot better than what happens in verse 6. And something tells me that eventually, the pruning is seen more as a gift and less as the painful, regrettable thing it might initially sound like. I mean, hey, I’ll be bearing juicy, succulent, beautiful fruit! What do I care if I’m missing a few leaves?