Today, during my Bible reading time, I came across John 15:2 and it really kind of stuck out at me.
"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He take away; every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit."
At first I just passed over it, but then when I read it again I started thinking about pruning. What exactly is pruning? Well I thought back to my Uncle Hugh, and how he would come and cut back all our rose bushes saying he was pruning them, so that when Spring came they would bloom even better than they had in the past. After that, I was thinking about the plant that was being pruned and what was going through their minds. I mean, image if you were a full grown bush, you had just reached your pinnacle and all was good. You were fully grown and had just reached a nice size, and then comes along this gardener and he hacks away all your branches, everything that you had just spent all your time to grow!
Sounds pretty depressing, but that's was God does to His elect, for a reason. When we face trials and tribulations, what God is really doing is He's pruning us. He cuts us back, gets rid of everything that we had stored up and makes us start over.
But there's a reason to all this pruning. The verse goes on to say "that it may bear more fruit". God prunes us so that we can learn from our experience and grow back twice as strong and productive. So that we can become better fruit bearers for Christ, and be better witnesses for the kingdom of God.
1 Peter 1:6-8 says- "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
We go through trials, only to be strengthened. We go through hard times only to find that our faith is stronger. We're pruned because we're loved!
So as children of God, expect to be pruned, but also expected to bear more fruit, and to be strengthened by Christ.
Don't complain when God's got the scissors...He's pruning you, so that when the next season arrives (or the next trial), you'll be ready!