Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:2

Almost September, so almost time to prune the Ninebark in front of the house. I am merciless. Whack ’em down to nearly nothing so that next spring they will sprout new green life and by summer be gloriously full of lush green leaves and tiny white sprigs. It’s certainly more fun to enjoy the beauty of the benefits than to engage in the actual hacking–I mean pruning.

So why has that been so hard to figure out in my own life? I’ve got the first part of John 15:2 down pat. That is, the part about my branches that don’t bear fruit being taken away. (Honestly, Lord, sometimes the blade cuts so close it scares me.) But it wasn’t until I read this verse two nights ago that the second half of the verse struck a chord – And every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes.

I read that to mean he is focusing his pruning where I’m already bearing fruit. And that gives me tremendous hope. First because I wasn’t sure there was even a seed, let alone a trace of fruit. Second because sometimes I have so many worthless branches hanging all over me it’s a wonder he can still see me inside of that mess. But he does. And John 15:2 tells me that not only does he see me, he sees a bit of good. A bit of good that with expert trimming grows into something beautiful and worthwhile.

Budding Branch