I spent much of today pruning my garden and meditating on what it says about “pruning” in the Bible. Although it sounds silly…I tried to put myself in the perspective of the plant being pruned.
If I saw some crazy lady in a wheelchair with her gardening gloves and shears coming for me, I would be scared and confused. Why is she cutting parts of me off? Why do they need to be removed? I feel fine! Look, I have other buds and flowers blooming!! Although I’m sure it isn’t, I wondered if having branches and old buds cut off is “painful” for a plant. Ouch, don’t cut there! I liked that limb!
For the record…I have never denied being a crazy lady in a wheelchair…and I suppose “thinking like a plant” ups the craziness even more J But this whole experience really made me think. Where is the LORD pruning my life? What is the purpose and the product of this pruning? The thoughts that came were beautiful…
I went back to Camp Barnabas this summer as a leader with the Greenwood Community Church youth group trip. Although I went to camp as a volunteer in high school, I had never been in a wheelchair. For those who don’t know…Camp Barnabas is a camp devoted to campers that have disabilities. Each camper is paired up with a volunteer counselor (like the ones we took from GCC) who becomes their caretaker and their friend for the week.
At camp, I was given the opportunity to speak at a wrap-up. Wrap-up is what we do every night before bed at camp. The entire camp is present and hears a quick 5-7 minute talk on whatever topic the speaker chooses. The LORD put on my heart to talk about heaven.
After I spoke…one of the cabin staff came over and asked me if I would go and talk with a camper. I think Watson is about 8 years old and he has cerebral palsy. Apparently during my talk he started crying and refused to move his wheelchair. He does not communicate verbally but knows what is going on around him.
When I wheeled up, Watson was crying and looking all around and his counselor (a 16 year old boy volunteer) was just weeping and hugging him. He kept saying, “I wish I could make this go away…I wish I could make this better for you”.
I had no idea what I was supposed to say to make things better for Watson. I touched his little hand and told him that he was special, beautiful, cherished, and purposefully created.
He continued to cry and look around the room.
I told him that whether or not he knew it, he was changing lives…even in that moment. Watson’s counselor will be forever changed from having known him.
Still, Watson continued to cry and look around frantically.
I touched his hand again and told him one last thing, “ I cannot wait to talk with you and dance with you in heaven…”
In that moment Watson made direct eye contact with me, stopped crying, and started beaming. His tears turned to smiles in an instant, and at that he drove his wheelchair away.
What fruit is that!!
The LORD prunes our lives that they may bear MORE fruit. I think of my experiences this summer and cannot deny that the pruning the LORD has done in my life this past year has truly led to the production of a vast array of fruit.
Recognizing what parts of our life are already bearing fruit, the LORD prunes them so that they mare produce more. I knew that I already had a gift when it came to working with kids. When I was injured, I wondered if my ability to work with kids would be negatively impacted. But maybe the accident was just pruning. Maybe that branch of working with kids was pruned so that it could bear more fruit…a different kind of fruit.
Wheeling up to Watson was different than walking up to Watson. Wheeling up to anyone with a disability is different than walking up to them. What fruit has the LORD already produced from that!? And what fruit will He continue to produce from it!?!
Whatever changes happen in my life, I have complete faith in my vinedresser. Changes may indicate the pruning process, but I have to believe that the LORD is removing those vines that do not bear fruit, and pruning those that do so that MORE FRUIT may be harvested. Praise Him for His infinite wisdom and scope of understanding; and for His vision to produce a vibrantly beautiful garden from all of our lives.