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 15:2 (NIV)
We all start off here, don’t we? Full beautiful blooms.
When we accept Christ and start our Christian journey. When we get baptized or when we rededicate our lives to Christ.
There is something brilliantly bright about a Christian who has just encountered Christ for the first time or in a new way.
Those full beautiful blooms are:
new hopes of what Christ can do through us.
The Master Gardener plants, waters and cares for each bloom. As the SON gives them His bright beautiful and pure light, while the Master Gardener waits for the day His blooms will cry out that they are ready to choose Him.
Then, over time, as we sit in our vases with other blooms, we begin to wither.
When God allows something, we don’t understand …
When a loved one dies …
When we lose a job …
When others hurt us …
When we lie …
All these things add up. All the “little white sins” and whispers of negative thoughts creep in, we wither, more and more.
Suddenly, not just the bloom itself, but all the others around them are withering. They too have been affected by a lack of the SON’S light. Storms have come through, tearing their once vibrant green leaves away from their once strong stems.
Other blooms have been lied to, suffered church hurt, or even been poisoned by bitter, hard or cold water in their vases.
If the Living Water and fresh SON have not been a priority for the bloom. If they have not been shared with by the other blooms, the flower will surely begin to die.
We look at ourselves and see a shell of the magnificent flower we once were. The other blooms give up on us and themselves, too.
We wonder, was the glory of the Master Gardener’s touch and care ever real??
Has the SON’S light been taken from us?? Will it ever return??
The water in the bloom’s vase is cloudy, dirty, full of dead leaves and stale.
We look dead,
Ready to be thrown away.
The Master Gardener in His wisdom does not give up on the withered blooms. He carefully begins to pull each flower out, one by one.
As other fresh blooms watch, all they see are dead petals and leaves falling from the discolored stems.
They think the Master Gardener is wasting His time. They think the withered bloom is useless and coming out of that dirty water, surely they need to be thrown away.
But the Master Gardener goes about His well-thought out task. As He begins to brush away the debris of past hurts, unforgiveness and stubbornness … It is discovered … tiny NEW leaves have sprouted.
When the petals of dead relationships, dead situations, and deadly thoughts continue to fall away, signs of new branches on the withered stems are exposed. The fresh blooms are AMAZED.
THEY discarded the withered bloom.
THEY devalued it.
THEY would have thrown it away.
But the Master Gardener KNEW from the very beginning the bloom’s potential.
He KNEW the bloom’s purpose.
He KNEW even though storms and rain would come the bloom’s way, causing it to wither, the bloom would not die. The SON, though at times blocked by clouds, NEVER left the bloom nor did the SON stop shining on the flower.
The Master Gardener KNEW even though He would have to save the withered bloom Over and Over, the bloom could always be pruned, seek the gardener, and let the SON shine on it again.
The Master Gardener knows, a withered bloom can always be made new when it is in the Master Potter’s vase, with fresh LIVING water and the SON shining brightly on them FOREVER MORE.
Just like the bloom, we all experience light and darkness in our lives.
In the light and darkness of this pandemic …
In the darkness of the most recent deaths of our dear brothers: Chris Beaty, McKinley Roscoe, and Clay Wearren …
In the light and darkness that comes with this Christian journey …
May we never forget that as painful as pruning is:
The Master Gardener and the SON are still in control,
Their glory will shine through the darkness,
and this too, SHALL PASS.
Chantelle J. Edwards is the proud wife of Emory F. Edwards and her three children, ages 1, 3 and 5. Chantelle resides in Indianapolis, Indiana and is the proud member of the ZPC MOPS group. She is the Board Chair for The Learning Bee STEM Academy, Small Group Leader with Traders Point Christian Church, 2019- 2020 Advancing Indy Women Fellowship graduate and aspiring writer. Chantelle is passionate about advocating for women and educational choice.