"Growth Can Be Painful"
By Zach Wood
"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."
Most of us would probably agree that we enjoying our growth in our relationship with God. Not a one of us would say that we do not enjoy our growth in our Christian walk. We could not imagine life without growing in God. We truly do live for the experiences that bring us closer to God. We enjoy going to conferences and conventions where we are challenged. We invite opportunities where there is potential to grow our faith in Jesus Christ. We thrive on these experiences that bring excitement and a new perspective of our Lord and Savior. These things are good and are meant for us to be encouraged and grow.
There are also times of growth that we do not look forward to, however, we know that through these times we sometimes learn the most and grow more in God than we ever have before. We grow when we make a mistake and learn we cannot do things that way. The pain is real and the consequences are very real, but we have learned and will move on. We grow when we have a disagreement with someone and we have said something we never should have said. No, we can never take those words back, but we can ask God for strength to mend that relationship and learn how to use our words in more loving ways.
God wants us to grow. He enjoys seeing us grow and learn. The growing is not always a great feeling at the time. He is the gardener. He looks into our lives and sees areas that need growth and maturing. When He sees things in our lives that will not bring any fruit to the Kingdom, He needs to cut those things off. Ouch! Those branch cracks are painful indeed. At the time, we may wonder why He is breaking us and keeping us away from certain things, but later on, we can look back and see the beauty from the work he performed.
This passage in John 15 is one of my most favorite Scriptures in the Bible. It speaks about how God is the true vine. If we hang on and do not let go, He will help us through tough times. No matter how painful the experiences in life, if we just hang onto Him, He will carry us through. There are times when we feel all alone and feel like letting go because it just seems too hard. However, when we completely put our trust in Him, no matter how much pruning and cutting He does to us as branches, we will start to see the growth that comes from the pain.
Every time I read this passage, it reminds of an old Whiteheart song called "The Vine". I would encourage you to look up that song on-line and read the lyrics. It speaks about this passage so well and illustrates how we many times in life feel so alone and like we have to take on this world alone. I remember when I was in college and Whiteheart was at a concert and one of the band members said things, "Sometimes, you just feel like you're hanging on by only a thread in life and feel like you're going to fall, but if you just trust in Him and at least hang onto that one little thread, He will see you through."
Growth can be painful, but we do learn and He guides us. If we want to be more fruitful in our lives, we must allow our Gardener to prune and cut us as needed.