July 22, 2011

Prune Me

It was the first thing I noticed when I drove into my yard after a month on the road.
Eww...I gotta fix that thing.

I'm not sure what the original owners of this house had in mind when they planted the wisteria bush..or if they had anything in mind. Wisteria really does best when it has a trellis to grow on, but ours sits all on its own, struggling to form a haphazard bush. It's been working on it for so many years now that, of course, there is nothing that we can do to help it but keep it trimmed and shaped as best we can.

But now, after a month of neglect, it resembled a hairy monster. Long gangly vines of new growth stretched for new horizons-- a hundred different horizons! Not knowing what they were reaching for, they grasped vainly onto each other for support and ended up creating a hopelessly tangled mess. (hmmm...)

I grabbed my trusty clippers, and within half an hour the bush looked much more respectable. Happy and satisfied with a job well done I left for Texas and forgot all about it.

Until today.
Passing by the wisteria bush, I stopped and did a double-take.
You're kidding me.

Sure enough...the bush is covered with the beginnings of the graceful blossoms that make wisteria so well-loved and prized by gardeners. I expect it will greet the Sabbath sunrise with a cascade of beautiful purple blooms.

How cool is that?

Outside of gardens, wisteria is considered a weed here in the south. I've seen it smother pine trees nearly to death by twining one little tendril at a time. Uncontrolled, there is nothing beautiful about it except for a lovely showing of purple for a week or two in the spring. And even purple blossoms somehow don't seem so appealing when they are awkwardly sprawled through a bramble patch.

From an unsightly bramble, to the gardeners prize-- the difference is pruning.

That's just like my God to go and do something like that.
Beauty for ashes.
The oil of joy for mourning.
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
That we might be called the planting of the Lord that He might be glorified.

Sometimes we get confused and think we should be mourning for the wrong thing. We cry in our trials, and moan during our pruning. We pray and wait for the oil of joy that God will surely bring us. And certainly, He never fails to bring us joy. But how foolish to weep over the means that He has appointed of bringing us relief from the REAL cause of mourning-- sin.

He wants to make us respectable and honorable. He wants to turn us into something lovely and beautiful.
He only asks to take away the things that will keep us from joy. He only gives abundant, incredible life in return.

We're Christians. We're in this thing for real. From here on out it's going to be one trial after another.
Embrace them.
This is the real deal. Whiners don't make it through. If the footmen have wearied us, how will we contend with horses? We haven't even got to persecution yet! We need every testing trial we can possibly handle. (Of course, the Lord will never give us more than that.) Plead to be counted worthy to suffer... Plead to be pruned.


  1. Ahhh, the reminder. Thanks Beth.
    Why else are we here?

    Twice I've reminded different friends this week: (and a dozen times myself!) "Strong men and women don't become strong by walking on 'easy street.'"

  2. "We need every testing trial we can possibly handle." What a thought, and not a very comfortable one...Thanks for making us think of it.