"I am the 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" (John 15:1-2).
It's all good.
Have you ever said that, or heard somebody else say it? When you hear the words, "It's all good," it usually means that everything really isn't as good as it could be, but there's still the hope that everything will turn out OK anyway.
Now, switch gears a little bit.
How you ever said that about your service to God? Especially if you are involved in so many things you often meet yourself coming and going, have you ever told yourself, amidst your frazzled nerves, forced smile, and fading joy, "But, it's all good"?
A friend once explained to our church's ladies' Bible study group that she would be absent for a few weeks. She had made the decision not to participate in the next study so she could be available for more family time, and more specifically, for her daughter's piano lessons.
When I told her not to worry, that she was pursuing the greater "Yes," it made her cry. She had felt guilty for declining the obviously fantastic endeavor of studying the Bible with the ladies, just so she could be present while her daughter studied middle C.
Because, you know, it's all good. And if it's all good, why would we NOT take part?
Why? Because, there is always a greater "Yes"! And that's exactly why Jesus spoke in John 15 of the pruning His Father does to a productive branch.
When you think about it, we might not quite understand why He does that. We get it when He talks about cutting off the branches that aren't doing anything. We understand the "snip, snip" that gets rid of useless pretenders. But, if a branch is bearing fruit, isn't it all good?
In all the good, God still wants us to have His best.
It might be all good, but God wants us to have His greatest. In the middle of the ministries and the meetings and the studies, He wants to show us His greatest "Yes." He wants to show us what can, and should go, so we will bear more beautiful, more abundant fruit in what He has said can stay.
And, there's more!
Remember my friend? Remember how she cried, because she had felt so guilty for saying "No" to an obviously good Bible study? When God does the pruning, He doesn't just snip a few branches and free up a little time and energy in our lives. He does the more beautiful work of freeing us from the guilt.
"To prune" comes from the Greek word kathairō (pronounced kä-thī'-rō), and while it does mean "to prune trees and vines from useless shoots," it also means "to cleanse" and "to expiate (atone) from guilt."*
God's pruning goes to the heart of the matter. He knows that we can become so busy doing the good stuff that we can miss His greatest. We miss our time with Him. We become too tired to do anything well because we are trying to do it all. We lose our joy, and our smile. And we feel guilty about all of it. But if we will allow His pruning, if we will say, "OK, tell me what to do, and I'll do it," He will cleanse our hearts. He will leave no room for guilt because we have said "No" to the good in order to say "Yes" to His best!
Now, that's all good!
©2014 Wendi Miller
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