Several months ago, I was given a plant as a gift. It had beautifully, shiny leaves, and was full of blossoms. It required very little care, yet kept its cheery blooms going non-stop. The leaves grew and grew – what a healthy plant!
After a time, the flowers faded, and I plucked off the dead heads and kept watering the plant as needed, waiting to see what would come next. No more flowers… then the large leaves began to wilt and parts of them would turn brown…I thought, “I am losing this plant!” No amount of tender, loving care was helping, and it was becoming rather sad looking.
This morning, I decided it was time to prune this plant, but oh, was I afraid to try! What would happen if I removed those huge leaves and all that was left was a scrawny, little thing that would struggle to survive and finally fail? Shears in hand, I carefully began working from the bottom to the top, sorrowfully eliminating the rotting and dead parts. Lo, and behold, what I discovered under there was a sight to see!! New life in small, shiny leaves – exquisite, teeny buds! Oh, what a pleasure, what a joy for my moaning, gardener’s heart! All of that, struggling to make it; buried treasure beneath a load of killing heaviness. From that point on, I happily trimmed away, letting the beauty burst out, as it was intended all along!
The Israelites had been oppressed slaves in Egypt and Moses was God’s chosen leader to take them to a new and beautiful land where they could be free, a land flowing with milk and honey, where they would live off of the gardens and farms of those who were there before them, a land that had been promised long ago. Just like me, however, they were afraid. Afraid to leave what they knew, afraid to follow Moses, afraid of the journey, afraid of the changes – AFRAID.
“Preparing ourselves for the fulfillment of God’s promises, however unlikely they may seem, demonstrates our faith.”
All of the promises God had given them, along with the world’s best leader, were not enough to overcome their fear. Their Promised Land was waiting at the other end, (just like the beauty of my plant that was underneath the decaying part,) yet fear held them back. Eventually, the Israelite descendants made it to the their new home, but because of the ones who just could not get over their own fears and wanting their own way, only 2 of the original people got to see it. What a shame!
God has a beautiful plan for our lives. If we are too fearful to let Him prune away at what is in us that eats away at our walk with Him, those things will eventually turn us into wilted, rotting people who will miss out on every wonderful thing that He has in store for us! Our lives can be so much more, if we will give our fear to Him, hand the pruning shears to Him and say, “Father, I want my life to reveal new buds, new leaves, new emotions, new growth – all for You and Your plan for my life! Shape me into what You want me to be.”
May it be so with me, Lord, may it be so with me!
He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.