John 15:8 – My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. (NRSV)
We had a pitiful stand of rhubarb in the side garden. Fancy fertilizers and sprays had no effect. All efforts to encourage healthy growth had failed. Finally an old farmer revealed our problem. The root had been planted too close to an apple tree.
That tree was no gardening delight either. Although it blossomed with delicate pink flowers every spring, it offered up a crop of bugs, blotchy apples, and wayward branches. We pruned the tree severely and moved the rhubarb. These actions refreshed both plants and placed them back on their original life plan. Rhubarb pie and lovely applesauce were the result.
While we appreciate and even welcome pruning advice for our gardens, we don't always feel the same about our personal lives. When God prunes us by rearranging our lives in one way or another, we would do well to see the big picture. It's all about fruit. Our challenge is to produce Christ-likeness in the midst of it.
Prayer: Lord, we have failed to recognize our problems as Your fertilizer for our growth. Help us to stop concentrating on the problems, and see them as from Your hands for the production of fruit in our lives. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.