Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our Master Pruner

Once upon an evening, I was loading lopped off branches into my cart to haul off and burn. I had pruned them a few days prior...long hanging dead straggling branches. And some still with life and leaves, but they also were hanging too low to the ground, becoming obtrusive, to my head.

I had separated and piled the dead leafless branches from those laden with green leaves. The limbs were from a tree that the limbs seemed to grow out downwards, instead of out and up. Their growth reminded me of how as people, when we do not keep our focus on our Lord, our Tree of Life, we will not grow up closer to Him in His love, causing us to look elsewhere for a substitute. There is nothing higher or greater than His love, so that would mean we would begin to look for something lower than His Way, something less, which would cause us to grow in a way we were not intended to, to not become the person God has called us to be in Him.

I had the hardest time getting the dead branches loaded onto my cart. They all kept clinging to one another, making it difficult to transfer them to the cart. To my recollection they were the spikiest branches I had ever dealt with. They had multiple stubby branches off branches of branches. They made me think of how my life may have seemed to have been thus far. All those short run-offs from the main branch... little detours off from God’s Path of Life. They were short stunted growths...resembling spikes...like I must of turned back to His Way shortly after trying to go my own way...again...doing so repeatedly, before finally having a long stretch of growing healthier and stronger. As if I was consistently being inconsistent in walking with Him on His path. Sometimes this was done knowingly, and sometimes unaware, or insensitive, of choosing to saunter off on another lone debut. Those must have been the years when it seemed like I would never learn from my mistakes... “You can’t keep doing the same thing expecting different results” ---Albert Einstein.

I finally got them all loaded; the last load was the most uncooperative (I finally took Einstein’s advice and tried doing it differently). Every attempt I had been making to get them into the cart seemed futile, and just when I thought I was making progress, I would get hung up in some other area from another spiky stubby branch. I just wanted to give up and walk away. I was growing impatient and frustrated with myself and those stupid branches. "Lord, what is wrong!!? Please show me what I am doing wrong...give me the strength and wisdom to do this...help me to learn from this...help me to finish what has been started..."

At last...I was on my way to toss them into the already blazing fire (old as sin scrap wood from previous “self”-help projects...pride + vanity = highly toxic and flammable material).

As I was going through the gate the branches seemed to try and hang onto the chain link fencing, like hands gripping on for dear life, grasping with its fingers, making the cart and I come to a standstill. They were so desperately trying to avoid going any closer to the fire, not wanting to give up their stubbornness, even though they had been void of life for some time now, no longer serving its purpose (other than their own violent attempts at combing my hair as I mowed under them, painfully clawing at my scalp and face).

That is kind of like how sin can be in our lives; taking away from our purpose in life, causing us to travel down wrong paths, destructive ones that lead to death and despair, leading to a life of hopelessness. We can lose sight of His truth, His eternal life within us....

Glorious God that You are...
Only You can save me from my wretchedness.
Thank You Lord...for Your life...
Faith, hope, love, mercy, grace, and peace....
Help me Lord...plant within me
A burning desire to know You.
Because where You are,
That is where I want to be...
Living in You.
Help me to awaken each new day
Anew with You...
Your life in me, becoming one through You.

Lord Jesus, help me not to be stubborn as those branches. Help me to let go of those things, those ways of living that do not give forth life, that are keeping me from becoming more like You, the person You have called me to be in You...Because You love me, and there is no greater love than Yours.


© Sheri * August 2010
Illustrated by: Jeremy Gray