It is telling that God indicated his displeasure with the Israelites in the “Song of the Vineyard” by creating a wasteland, neither pruning nor cultivating, allowing briers and thorns to grow and withholding rain. In Lent, we should seek a closer relationship with God, allowing him to prune and cultivate our lives.
I’ve spent the week pruning and cultivating the flower beds in my garden. Pulling weeds. Cutting back unwieldy growth, spindly branches. I have years of experience at this and still I consider myself a tentative novice. Pruning is my least favorite part of the process. Sometimes it’s easy. Branches that are clearly dead must go. But often the tough decisions involve cutting off branches that are producing.
Here is a Lantana that needs to be cut back in order to produce healthy spring growth. Oddly, there is a long spindly branch that has grown up into a non-flowering hedge. There is a beautiful cluster of flowers mysteriously blooming a few feet above the ground. I was tempted to leave it alone, if only as a reward for its tenaciousness. But it is better for the plant to cut it back to its core. So, the branch and its flowers were eliminated along with the rest.
Similarly, I feel like I’m looking within myself this year and studying aspects of my life that appear productive and seem to be bearing fruit but perhaps still want some pruning. All I can do is seek God’s blessing and pray that He prunes and cultivates me to bear His fruit and ultimately be pleasing to Him.
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