Sometimes it's too hard to turn the pages. Who knew having Him lead you to a spot in the Bible could hurt more than the pain that led you to Him? But that's what it's like now...this dark season. Sometimes it feels like He's causing as much pain as your world is.. and that's tough because if He's against you too then who do you have?
But He isn't against you...not at all. He's just pruning you so that you can bear better fruit. Anyone who knows anything about apples know that the best fruit...the biggest and best of all apples...comes from the ugliest of trees. It is the tree that in the winter appears to have been left to grow in whatever direction it will. It isn't well shaped like a Bartlett Pear or mighty oak. It looks dwarfed and has limbs that appear to have been chopped at various lengths. No one would think to adorn it with a brightly colored string of lights or use it's scrawled branches to hold a tire swing.
But that tree that appears to be left to itself has had hours of attention. Her branches appear as they do as a result of endless pruning. She has been pruned as she grew in order to improve her fruit. For one fall in the future, someone will eat a huge shiny beautiful apple and comment on the quality only to be surprised at where the fruit came from. For the best of fruit can only come from a pruned tree.
And so I have learned that this process of pruning is necessary. The pain is shaping me into His purpose. Part of me wants to bear Him fruit, yet part of me just really wanted to be left alone to bear tiny fruit...I mean, it's still fruit.
I don't remember volunteering for this. I don't remember signing up for the hard stuff. I was content with just growing in my own way, but every time I start to grow in a comfortable direction, I feel the cutting shears again, pruning and shaping me in the way He wants me to grow. He isn't content to let me go for a season without any pruning. There is fruit that needs to be shared and He has called me to be an apple tree...not a mighty oak or a tall sturdy pine, but an apple tree.
And so I turn the pages...wiping the tears that find their way to my eyes. I don't want to read the words on the page before me because I know the two edged sword is preparing to prune me...to open up my branches to be vulnerable to the elements around me. And yet I turn the pages because I have learned something else. He has taught me to want good fruit. I am learning to give up the dream of looking like a Christmas tree or holding the swing of a child in my branches. He has called me to bear fruit from scarred branches. And why should I shudder at the sight of the scars I may bear for Him...He bore much harder scars for me.