Monday, July 29, 2013
The Vine and the Branches
After a heat wave, even a short one like the one we had in Michigan a few weeks ago, it's not hard to find patches of dying grass or wilting blossoms on the summer flowers.
That's how I feel. Like a crispy, dried branch on a vine that is otherwise healthy. I was reading John 15, and I realized that I'm the branch on the vine that is at risk of being cut off by the Gardener. I'm not exactly sure how to take that verse - John 15:2 says that God the Father will cut off every branch that does not bear fruit. I understand the symbolism - that I had better be connected to Jesus or I'm wasting my life. But will God really cut me off? In the light of Jesus' mercy, I think the cutting will be God cutting off the junk that makes me unproductive. That's probably why it hurts. God is pruning me and cutting off the clutter that doesn't really matter in my life.
I don't know why I didn't inherit my mother's green thumb. She loves to garden, and she works in her yard any chance she can get. I just want something to look pretty outside my house with minimal human involvement, like a realistic sculpture of a plant. My mom came to visit me one spring after we had just moved to a new house. She wanted to help me re-create the existing gardens. In her zeal, she accidentally cut a rather healthy clematis all the way to the ground. She felt terrible. But guess what? The clematis came back that summer, and by the fall, it had grown up, not only wrapping itself around the trellis, but climbing all the way to the 2nd story roof on our house.
I think this must a be a pruning period for me. I have allowed a lot of junk to invade my life, to the point that it is suffocating my spiritual life. In response to the real challenges of having a disabled husband and filing for bankruptcy and trying to raise 4 kids who aren't completely dysfunctional, I have turned to junk to fill my needs instead of God. I sleep a lot. I eat too much. I watch TV or play video games or surf the web endlessly. Kind of useless junk, wouldn't you say? Of course I need to let God trim that junk away so that I can get on with the business of knowing, loving and serving God. Theoretically, it shouldn't hurt too much to have that stuff cut away. It isn't really satisfying anyway, but for some reason, I keep chasing down the crap that doesn't fulfill.
Time to let God do His thing. Please take out the trash, Lord; cut off the fruitless, dry branches, and help me to sprout and grow healthy and fruitful.