Any vineyard owner knows that pruning is necessary to produce the best grapes. Most varieties will produce more leaves than fruit if left to themselves.
Jesus gave us this stunning picture of our relationship with Him: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 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 15:1-2).
I am recognizing change as an agent of the Father’s pruning in my life. The unexpected yet inevitable plot twists we all experience are not always welcome. When life shifts, there is often a time of adjustment because of some feeling of loss. Even a good change such as a promotion or desired move produces the cutting away of familiarity and comfort.
Currently, I am watching the weeks whiz by, each one drawing us closer to my firstborn moving far away to attend university. A tennis ball emerges in my throat every time I imagine leaving him a plane ride away. I know this massive transition is going to change our relationship. He will not need me in same way he has for the past 18 years, and this is a good thing. I want him to grow in independence and strength, but I can’t help but feel this motherhood journey went too fast. I long for just a few more years with him in our home.
When the ache of change tightens my chest or tears flow, I am learning to ask my Father: “What do You have for me in this cutting away?” We can allow God to leverage the discomfort of transitions for our growth and the eventual production of fruit from our life. Or, we can resist change, sit in anger or sadness, and miss out on what our good Vinedresser desires to produce through our lives because of seasons of change.
Jesus closes out His vine illustration with these words: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).
There is joy to be found as we abide in Him through the pruning process of change.