Once my husband, Bob, and I enjoyed having several gorgeous red and yellow hibiscus plants growing in our front yard. But we neglected to prune them, and they looked like a bramble bush with branches going every direction. 

Then one day neighbor boys attacked my prized but scraggly hibiscus plants! They broke off branches to use as pretend swords when I wasn’t watching. After they were through, trash and broken foliage littered the lawn in front of my townhouse.

I assumed they had destroyed the plant since broken sticks shorn of their leaves ruined their former beauty. But one morning a breathtaking sight greeted me. A huge bouquet of red hibiscus flowers cascaded down from the top of the plant. The bountiful crop of larger-than-ever blooms proclaimed they had flourished not despite of mistreatment, but because of the “abuse.”

This experience reminds me of a Bible verse. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;[ and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:1-2 NKJ).

I see in this simple story a parable of the Christian life. Just as plants need pruning to reach their full potential, so God needs to prune His children’s lives so the fruit of His Spirit can grow within them.

God loves us so much that He will prune His children even if it hurts, and even if it seems He is harming us, but we are not in a position to judge. We need to remember He is God and we aren’t!

True faith does not demand explanations from the Lord. We may ask, but He does not have to tell us.  In the meantime, our part is to walk by faith.

Just as I thought the neighbor boys had ruined my plants, but instead they had unintentionally rejuvenated them. So God uses cutting experiences to make our lives more fruitful.

Our temporary happiness or comfort is not the point. Through Christ, we may always overflow with deep and lasting joy—independent of circumstances. 

To be fruitful in Christ, I need to rest in Him, trusting Him to bear the fruit through me.

So if you’re a child of God, cooperate with the divine Gardener’s handwork instead of fighting against him. Who can tell what Jesus will do in your life if you yield to Him?

 

Hibiscus flowers bloom crimson and yellow,

   Billowy trumpets proclaim their Creator’s work.

They remind me not to strain and strive,

   But to rest in Him from Whom all beauty flows.

So effortless their loveliness appears;

   So persistent their blossoms renew.

Silent witnesses of God’s touch.

   They seem to whisper low:

If He cares for us,

   how much more does He watch over you?

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