Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The "Come Back " Tree

I had not been at the farm long when I found a very frustrating problem with my fig tree. No fruit. Several years went by, and still essentially no fruit. Finally, I was so distressed by the tree that I cut it down and gave it the opportunity to "come back". The next year, it had figs, and it has borne fruit faithfully every year since then.

The single-digit temperatures this past winter were a bad blow to the tree, and for a while I thought it might have died, but leaves finally grew. Yesterday, I passed the tree on the way to the barn, and realized it is once again loaded with figs. 

The more I look at those baby figs, the more I remember the sad day when I cut the tree down to the ground. It seemed most likely that the tree would never have fruit again. What did I know? Apparently, not much!

Since that day, I've eaten an outrageous number of figs, canned countless jars of fig preserves, and baked quite a few none-too-popular fig desserts. Despite all that, there have been enough figs to share with the birds and squirrels. It turned out that the pruning was the best thing that ever happened to the old fig tree. 

Pruning is one of those very necessary things in the Christian life. When we are connected to the vine, our branches that bear no fruit (or poor fruit) must be removed. Don't be surprised when our Lord does some pruning in your life. The objective is not to take away, it is to add more. The result of careful, well planned pruning is always more fruit, less disease. That is exactly the kind of pruning our Lord does. 

Those instances of pruning in my own life have sometimes seemed like the saddest thing imaginable. What a surprise it always is to find that God has done something new and something better to make me more productive for the Kingdom. 

Are you experiencing a little pruning? Don't grieve for those lost branches. Instead, thank God for the new growth to come. Thank Him, too, for all the fruit He plans for you to bear. Before you know it, you will be glad for the pruning He did.