“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He [God] takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” ~Jesus in John 15:2
If you have ever wondered why you suffer losses–a job, a come, a business, a marriage, etc.–take a deeper look into the verse above. God has reasons for taking away certain things (or, perhaps, people) in our lives.
God takes away every branch—or anything in our lives—that does not make one successful or lead that person closer to God. This could be why people suffer losses such as a job, a relationship or friendship, a marriage, or even something more materialistic such as a car or a home.
God takes away things to give us something much better. But the branch that does produce fruit, God “prunes” that branch so it will produce even more fruit.
But what does “prune” even mean in this context?
I looked up “prune” in the dictionary and one of the definitions reads:
“to trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness or growth.”
So God rids any unnecessary branches from the fruitful branches so they can grow better and stronger and spring forth much more fruit.
Metaphorically speaking, He does the same thing with our lives. Here is one way to look at it: He sees our lives as trees, fruitful trees (no matter if we have little fruit or much fruit).
He is our Gardener and we are His precious trees. It is His job to tend to us, water us, and trim us so we can flourish, produce fruit, and stand long and strong. During this growing journey, we will be as trees. It is symbolic. We will grow on a foundation (hopefully on fertile God-given ground), deal with some good weather and, of course bad weather (representing good days and bad days, fruitful seasons, and dry and trying seasons), deal with rain (or tears) along the way, and produce fruits and eat of them (enjoy our successes and give our fruits back to Him).
Life is not an easy journey, but the challenges, the weathering, the seasons, and the rain storms we face along the way make us stronger and wiser.
We allow God to be our Gardener. When we allow God to care for us, lead our lives, and even cut off branches (prune us), in time we will be more fruitful. But we have to be willing to lose some things in our lives that are not producing any fruit—it may even be some things that we really like.
Do trees water themselves? Can they water themselves? Are they able to cut off their own branches? Can they tell which branches are (or are not) producing fruit? Of course not! That is way trees need gardeners to look after them and care for them.
In a similar way, we can only care for ourselves to a certain extent (mostly with the help of our Lord). We can feed, bathe, and keep ourselves from perceivable danger. But, in most cases, we may not know that some (or most) of the branches in our lives are not good for us—are not producing any fruit. We may think that our jobs, our relationships, or friendships are making us better getting us far in life, but we do not know whether or not those branches are growing fruit.
But God, our Gardener, does know all and sees all, so He wants to chop off any branch in our lives that stagnates our growth. We may not know that certain things aren’t producing fruit in our lives so when we are pruned from that job or relationship, or group of friends, it hurts and we may not know what is going on at the moment.
This is why any kind of loss is painful. It is, though, normal to grieve those losses because we are human. But it is also important to remember that God is doing this to improve our lives, to align them with His perfect will.
- “Did you never run for shelter in a storm, and find fruit which you expected not? Did you never go to God for safeguard, driven by outward storms, and there find unexpected fruit?” John Owen
- “He that would have fruit must climb the tree.” Thomas Fuller
- “There is a fruit of the Spirit that must accompany the gift of healing and that is longsuffering.” Smith Wigglesworth