John 15:1-2 – I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (NIV)
Ephesians 2:4 – But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (NLT)
Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (NIV)
For the last two years, I've been the one to do the gardening. My husband had always done it in the past, but, because of work demands, he gave it over to me. Although I'm not nearly as good a gardener as he is, I'm learning a lot about God there.
God is the gardener in our lives. He tills the ground, gives us the circumstances, the questions, and the conditions that cause us to query our reason for being, even before we are saved. Into that struggle, that soft-tilled earth, He puts people to pray for us, talk with us, and plant seeds of hope that there is a better way. We do have a reason for being. We are warmed by the Son and rained on by living water.
But He's not done yet. He watches over His little seedlings, weeding close to them, gently keeping His hand around them for protection, while He clears the path of weeds. He talks to His little seedlings, and tells them how beautiful they are and how much He delights in them.
As His garden grows, He continues to weed and thin and prune. Sometimes the pruning and thinning hurt, no matter how gently and lovingly He does it. But it's all done with one goal in mind: He wants each of us to have a bountiful harvest, bearing all kinds of good fruit.
All of us are God's gardens. He loves working in each one of us. What good fruit will He produce in us? The time is yet to come when God will harvest the riches that He has cultivated and produced. Then we will stand amazed at what He has accomplished and marvel at what He has so lovingly done in us.
Prayer: Oh, Father God, help us to welcome Your weeding and pruning in our lives, knowing that You love us and desire only the best for us. Help us to produce good fruit. Thank You, Father. Amen.