I was working in one of my flowerbeds yesterday pruning away some of the dead parts of the flowers that had left it looking like a spindly brown mess.
It reminded me of conversations I've had with my neighbor. I'm more of a perennial planter. She's an annual gal. She prefers the fullness I get from flowers but says she can't stand not to rip plants out when they finish blooming.
As I was snipping away I was very thankful that God doesn't share Mrs. Brenda's plant policy. We flower and flourish in our faith and then we go through some dry patches or wilt in the heat of trial. These fluctations leave us with some spindly patches of unproductive "dead wood" in our lives.
He patiently and tenderly cuts away at those things, sometimes even the parts that once were lovely, to leave us healthier, stronger, and ready to take on the winters that are to come.
When we shy away from the shears everyone notices. Our neglected spot are apparent to the passerby. And, the places that need tending are brittle. A little lopping and we look better, we feel better and we are extraordinarily more productive.
So I'm thankful for the pruning process. It has many times been hard, sometimes cost me things or relationships that I held very dear, but it is necessary.
And it sure beats ending up in the compost pile.