When the knife cuts deep and the pain is sore!
"My Father is the gardener!" John 15:1
It is comforting to think of trouble, in whatever form it may come to us — as a heavenly messenger, bringing us blessing from God. In its earthly aspect, it may seem hurtful, even destructive; but in its spiritual outworking, it yields blessing.
Many of the richest blessings which have come down to us from the past, are the fruit of sorrow or pain. We should never forget that redemption, the world's greatest blessing — is the fruit of the world's greatest sorrow.
In every time of sharp pruning, when the knife cuts deep and the pain is sore, it is an unspeakable comfort to read, "My Father is the gardener!"
One tells of being in a great hothouse where luscious clusters of grapes were hanging on every side. The owner said, "When my new gardener came, he said he would have nothing to do with these vines unless he could cut them clean down to the stalk. He did, and we had no grapes for two years — but this is the result."
There is rich suggestiveness in this illustration of the pruning process, as we apply it to the Christian life. Pruning seems to be destroying the vine, the gardener appears to be cutting it all away; but he looks on into the future and knows that the final outcome will be the enrichment of its life and greater abundance of fruit.
In the same way, there are blessings we can never have — unless we are ready to pay the price of pain. There is no way to reach them, but through suffering.
"Every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:2