My husband and I are landscaping novices.
In February of this year, we trimmed the tree directly in front of our house, in an attempt to eradicate a rat from our attic.
Let me rephrase that—we had a tree trimming company trim the tree directly in front of our house because our pest control company told us we needed to.
It was during this rat extermination circus that we started taking stock of the other trees in our neighborhood. We noticed that many of them were bald and barren. They weren’t merely in a winter slump, rather, they’d been intentionally trimmed down to nubbins.
As landscaping novices, my husband and I thought this must be what you do to your trees during the winter time. So, we got out our tools (let me rephrase that—my husband got out our tools), and followed suit.
Immediately after trimming our remaining trees, we thought we’d made a giant mistake. We went out to our backyard every day, surveying the dead-looking trees, lamenting our decision, figuring we’d done a huge disservice to our foliage. We questioned whether we’d cut it back too far. We doubted whether growth would spring from the desolate limbs.
And then, not even a month later, it did. Little green sprigs started to appear.
And then, not even four months later, the trees we’d feared we’d destroyed, had returned to their full glory.
My husband and I were incredibly giddy at this new growth (as well as the fact that we hadn’t massacred our trees).
As I admired one of our trees the other day, I couldn’t help but think about the way God prunes our lives.
When God trims our lives of the familiar, the comfortable, the secure; when circumstances, loss, and life’s disappointments strip us down to nubbins, we often stand back and say, “Too far Lord.”
When God intentionally trims us down to nothing, we’re pained by the bleakness. We take stock of what looks like desolation, and lament, uncertain of God’s pruning abilities, unsure of whether newness will appear on our empty branches.
And then, months later, little sprigs begin to appear.
What we fail to realize is that what looks like desolation is merely God’s canvas for growth. While we fixate on the nubbins, God sees the growth that is about to emerge. When we’ve been severely pruned, we forget that God is a God that brings forth life from barrenness. We lose sight of the fact that newer, healthier, fuller growth is only made possible by pruning.
And when we see this new growth, when we witness this new life, we’re incredibly giddy.
*In case you were wondering, we successfully removed the rat from our attic.