Sunday I walked over to my friend and neighbor David’s house. We are blessed to live on a homestead that has been in his family for generations and we cherish the friendship of his family.
Dave had been pruning his Stayman apple tree, and when I say “pruning” I mean pruning. He had a step ladder, an extension ladder, a chain saw and other tools, and had been working on the tree for a couple of days. There were branches, large and small, all over the ground. As I helped him load the debris into his trailer to haul to a brush pile he said to me:
Until I saw how growers prune these trees up in the mountains (the Blue Ridge) I didn’t understand how to do it. Staymans want to grow vertically, to shoot up high, but if you let them do that it will inhibit their ability to bear fruit – so you’ve got to prune the vertical height.
Isn’t that what the Lord does to us? Or at least to me? I want to shoot up vertically, I want height, but Christ wants me to bear fruit and so my egotistical propensity to desire personal height has to be pruned in order for me to bear fruit in Him. I can’t say that I enjoy the pruning, and sometimes it is so radical that I wonder whether I can stand anymore of it – and yet if it comes from the hands of the Divine Husbandman I can trust it to be merciful and I can live in the hope that the result will be the image of His Son.