At the start of every year, I set aside time to seek God with regard to what it is that He wants to work in and through me for the year ahead. Once I have clarity, I pray into what it is that He has spoken about and seal it with His word. But, when the work begins and transformation is happening, it is usually completely different from how I expected it to be. Have you ever experienced that too?
It seems beautiful, inspiring, and encouraging in our minds and hearts when we pray prayers like “Lord please strengthen my faith” or when we sing words like “Break my heart for what breaks Yours”, but do we know what we’re asking for? Are we actually willing to go through the process to see Him fulfill what we’ve asked for?
I don’t know what the past few months have been like for you, but mine has been a rollercoaster of emotions and… and… and… I found that the things I had suppressed or that I thought I had dealt with began to resurface and I had to learn to swallow my pride. You can’t run from your issues when you’re less busy and distracted by everything that once was ‘normal’. I had so many questions I needed answers to.
Am I really as humble as I thought I was? Am I really humble at all? Were the things I placed high value on BC (Before Corona) actually important? What legacy do I want to leave? How strong/deep are my convictions? Why do I try to impress others so much? (even subconsciously I found this to be true) Where do I go from here? (I don’t want my world to go back to the way it was)
I could only surrender these questions to the Holy Spirit, because I am weak in my own strength.
“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.” John 15:1-2 NIV
I do not enjoy the pruning process. If you do, hats off to you for sure! It’s uncomfortable, it’s painful, it’s messy, it may look fruitless, it may seem like a piece of yourself is being cut away. The beauty of this time in lockdown is that my pruning has been mostly in private, and I’m grateful for the safety of God’s presence and the strength and deeper trust in Him that have resulted from the pruning. Pruning means that I become a better vessel for His glory.
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage. But He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
So I thank God for the discomfort of pruning and refining because it means that I am being changed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). I understand that I’ll never be perfect until I’m with Him in eternity, but I continually become better in Him – I become more of who He intended me to be.
You surely have your own questions as well and all of us have things that the Lord must prune from us, but I’m continually reminded that the temporary moments of pain and not understanding why He is doing what He is doing in us, are tremendously outweighed by the glory – His glory – that will shine in and through you. I pray for myself, and for all of us, to be transformed in a way that is pleasing to Him. May I and may we become even more so a palace that is fit for the King.