Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vine And Branches

Today's lesson talked about Jesus's teachings in John 15:45.
(God is the gardener.) Jesus is the vine. We are the branches.

I feel silly for saying this, but I never understood this passage from the Bible until I read this book tonight. You see, I don't have a green thumb. I once tried to grow basil on my windowsill. Someone told me that all you needed to grow basil was soil, water, and full sun. Well, El Paso has plenty of sun, so I figured I would give it a try. I grew varying stages of basil, but no basil. The seeds sprouted and formed little shoots, but then they would all flop over and die. I had a couple of mushrooms spring up, but no basil leaves. I tried on three different occasions and it was the same song and dance every time. Gardening is supposed to be an easy analogy, I guess, but it will totally escape those of us who kill plants on contact.

So in case anyone out there is like me, just know that Jesus sucks up the good stuff from the soil to help us grow. As long as we hang on to Him, we bear fruit (or maybe even a basil leaf or two.) :)

One part of the lesson tonight that really got me thinking is when the author talked about how branches need "pruning" in order to be fruitful. "It'll look like God's doing great things in my life and I'm growing--and then all of a sudden there'll be a snip!"

One of the perks that we get from living on post is a gardening service that comes out and trims all the hedges in the front every few months. I appreciate them coming out and cutting down broken tree branches and trimming back bushes that are blocking the path of the walkways, but last winter they came by and just totally hacked our beautiful lavender bushes down to a few twigs. Then, in February, we had the worst freeze in El Paso's history for decades. I thought those poor little fellas were gone for good.
In an effort to replace what was lost, last April on Earth Day, my husband planted three new bushes in our front yard. When we were plotting out where to put them, we noticed teeny tiny green leaves growing from a bunch of sticks. I thought they were weeds.
"Dig 'em up!" I said. "Then we can put the new bushes where the lavender used to be."
"Baby, I think that is the lavender," my husband corrected me. "Just in case, I will plant around them."
And I am so glad he did. Because sure enough, my husband was right. Those tiny sticks covered in "weeds" blossomed into bright, purple flowers that filled out so nicely between our new midnight bushes.
If the maintenance men hadn't cut them down as much as they had, then the freeze would have definitely killed them. Instead, they grew back just as big and healthy as they had been the summer we moved into the house. In fact, I think they were even fuller this year than they were the year before. I guess they knew what they were doing. (And I bet they know how to grow a mean basil plant.)

I always need to remember that when God is in the pruning process, He knows what He's doing, too. Sometimes I don't always understand why He chooses to snip where He does, or why He finds it necessary to lop so much off at a time. Sometimes He has so much work to do on me that by the time He's done, I feel like I am standing out there, just a short brown stick covered in little green "weeds." But somehow, I always come back bigger and stronger than I was before.

I am so glad that God is a better gardener than I am!

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