Looking at the rosebush, it was easy to see that it was half dead. What was not so easy to discern was which half. It had survived five years of virtual neglect and kept on thriving, but the winter storms had left it battered and broken. Still, as I worked my way through the roadside weeding, it greeted me with four or five fragrant blossoms. It wanted to live. It wanted to do what it was meant to do.
So, every place it had been battered and broken, it simply turned another direction and sprouted a new thorny branch.
My life is like that; maybe yours too. If I can't go through, I'll go around, but the last thing I want to do is come to a standstill. I want to find a way. So, when I run into opposition, I divert. Maybe it comes from the battering and brokenness, and the wanting to live. Thankfully, through the adversity, I've learned that the Gardener will not leave me alone. He won't let me die. He, too, wants me to live.
But, like the rosebush, what is dead is not neatly divided into a section that can be easily lopped off. It's tangled and twisted, and well, complicated. It means that even some sweet-smelling good things might have to go. It's a position of trust, and of rest. Knowing it's beyond what I can do myself, gives Him the perfect opportunity to go to work... It's a sweet place to be - abiding.
I am the true vine and my Father is the Gardener. He cuts away every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit. But He trims clean every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will produce even more fruit...Stay joined to me, and I will stay joined to you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit unless it stays joined to the vine, you cannot bear fruit unless you stay connected to me (John 15:1-4 CEV).