A photo of the pruned tree from our visit to the orchard.
July included a trip to my favorite apple orchard to pick up my buckets of fresh cherries to freeze. My grandchildren were with me, so instead of the normal quick in and out, we spent some time meandering around the orchard.
The apples trees were overflowing with apples doing their work to become ripe. But I was amazed to see countless apples laying on the ground, underneath the trees. In talking with the Orchardist (the owner of orchards), she shared that they had gone through the entire orchard and pruned a large percentage of the apples off. It is only in taking away a large number of the apples when they are little, that the tree is able to produce the full, delicious fruit we enjoy in the fall. Laying there on the ground was the result of that pruning – oodles of apples that were not going to get ripe, but were left to rot on the ground.
As I drove away, John 15:1-8 came into my mind.
“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 15:2,3
Just as those apples trees need to be pruned to bear the alluring, juicy fruit that we will be devouring in the fall – so it is with me. My Heavenly Father has been pruning me all of my life; cutting away even good capabilities to refine and strength the abilities He desires for me. The abilities that will bring my God glory and fulfill His purposes for me.
In just a few weeks, I will be driving to the orchard again to purchase apples to eat, make applesauce and apple crisp. The apples that will be waiting for me will be stronger because they underwent pruning.
Cautiously, I pray the same for you and I.
The productive result of pruning.