I love it when I go to church and hear a message that seems like it was meant just for me! This happened for me just yesterday. Lately, I've been thinking about the struggles of life. It seems like so many people around me are suffering. There are those who have lost their jobs, those who have lost their house, those who are dealing with illnesses and injuries, those who are mourning the loss of a loved one.....I see so much heart-ache all around me and it has really been bringing me down!
I see myself as very blessed. Life is FAR from perfect for me, but considering, I have it VERY good! I am VERY thankful for this! Sure, I have daily struggles and sure, I have a lot on my plate raising a child with special needs, but I also have it quite good too. The thing that I am most thankful for is the knowledge that I have of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Having this knowledge makes everything else that is going bad in my life, so much easier to bear! I am thankful that I have always had this knowledge. I can't remmeber a day in my life that I didn't know God and the truths of the Bible. And, I can't imagine going through the hardships of this life, without having this wonderful knowledge! My life has always been blessed, having been given the gift of God in my life!
Yesterday, at church, our Pastor talked about how God prunes us, so that we can bear more fruit. This is just the sermon that I needed to hear! Since I've been feeling down about the many situations of others, I really needed an explanation of "Why?" these things happen to us! Even though I have always known God in my life, I still have many moments of weakness, when I ask, "Why?!" I asked, "Why?", when Gavin was born with a heart defect, and when he spent so many months in the hospital, and when he had his stroke. I knew deep down that there was a perfect reason, but I didn't like it and I wanted to know what that purpose was!
Today, I look back to the person that I was before Gavin and I am so thankful for him and the lessons God used to teach me, through Gavin! I used to think that I was so in control over my life. Actually, I knew that I wasn't in control, but I tried to control things WAY TOO MUCH! I was like Caleb, who has always said, "No, Let me do it!" And, just like Caleb, I thought that I should have more control over my life and desires. Thankfully, Caleb has Joel and I as his parents to set him straight and thankfully, I have God to keep me on track!
Our Pastor used the analogy of pruning back his tomato plants. The tomato plant grows extra branches on it, that in the end will bear no tomatos. These branches, if not pruned, or cut off, will end up sucking nourishment from the rest of the plant that will produce tomatos. If you don't cut off those bad branches, then the tomato plant will end up producing less fruit, because of these unnecessary branches. We are like a tomato plant. Sometimes we let the bad things in life suck all the good out of us. We let the 'bad branches' drain us of the good nutrients and then we can't 'bear fruit' because of it. By having Gavin and all the hardships that have come with him, I have been 'pruned' and I am now able to bear more fruit than I once was able to. God sent a hardship into my life to help cut away my 'bad' branches, the branches that I kept trying to hold on to, even though I didn't need them. I used to try to hold on to way too much control, but having Gavin has taught me that I am not in control and that when I give it to God, He WILL take care of it!
I believe that sometimes God uses our hardships to help trim the the branches of others as well. We may not gain more fruit from this hardship, but hopefully our hardship can lead another to look to God and then they, in turn, will be able to bear more fruit in their life.
Suffering Sucks(for lack of a more appropriate word), but it sure is easier to tolerate when you know that there is a PERFECT purpose for it! I, for one, am thankful for the suffering that I've had to endure in my life. I wouldn't be the person I am without it. God has used every situation to prune me to be the way that He intends for me to be. All that pruning sure did hurt, but each and every day, I am able to produce more fruit because of it! So, once again, THANK YOU GOD FOR SUFFERING! And, THANK YOU FOR SUFFERING ON THE CROSS FOR ME!
Take time today, to be thankful for the pruning that is going on in your life. Tomorrow may bring about much fruit and goodness!
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." John 15:1-5
P.S. Tomorrow is a big day for someone around here!!! :)
Any guesses who this might be.....?????