Ever since then I haven’t really been able to stop thinking about it. I wish, so much I had known the right words to say then, or even now, but I still don’t. However, what I do know is that sometimes the Lord prunes our lives so closed down to the ground that it seems as if there is, indeed, nothing left to hang on to. The reason He does that is actually simple and practical. God prunes us like grape growers prune their valuable vines so we can produce more fruit. We see this analogy at the beginning of John 15: 1-2
“I am the true 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.”
While reading about pruning vines I saw that the process allows the grower to focus the growth of the vine where he wants it, and determines how much fruit a vine will have. Each vineyard is different, with the variety of grape, location, fertility of the soil and climate all playing a role in the decision on how to best prune. Our Father, as the Perfect Gardener of our Souls, carefully plans a specific pattern of pruning for each of His children/branches depending on our circumstances, on our own individuality and uniqueness, for we are all different, just like each vineyard is different; but always with the same purpose and result, that we may all produce more fruit during the next growing season. He knows exactly what to prune so He focuses His shears on the area of our lives where He wants His fruit to grow.
I also read that whatever pruning method is used, with all pruning, it's all about balance: deciding just the right amount of fruit each vine and vineyard can comfortably ripen to perfection. Our Lord knows exactly how much to prune each of us so the result is perfect fruit. Sometimes it is necessary to prune right down to the ground; some other times the pruning might not be as intense and radical; but one thing is always true, while the pruning process is painful, it is always beneficial. The important thing is to trust the One with the shears and to know that He knows what He is doing.
I’m not sure that the next time someone expresses his or her frustration with their hurts in life I will know what to say. I will probably fall silent again, but I sure hope that at least I remember that the important thing is to remain in Him through the pruning process so when the next harvest season comes around, we can bear His perfect fruit.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15: 5