The beautiful image of the vine and the branches found in today's Gospel (John 15: 1-8) has a wonderful phrase that bears reflection. In speaking of those branches that "bear fruit", Jesus speaks of the Father pruning them so that they can bear more fruit. I like this because it help me get through the times when it seems as if things are not going so well. I have to be honest, sometimes I feel like I am being battered on every side, even though I think I am pretty faithful to God. It can get me down.
This passage helps me realize that it just may be God "pruning" me a little. In retrospect, I usually find that the troubling times and situations really end up having some positive side to them, despite what I may think about them as they are occurring. Knowing that God can bring some good out of even the worst actions and situations, I need to look a little harder when they are happening to me.
Pruning is never easy, but the Lord has assured me that it will ultimately help. My faith, even though weak at times, tells me that I am not alone. Even as He is pruning me, God is supporting me as well. And His grace will be the vital nourishment I need to recover from the pruning and grow even stronger. I pray that I will bear much fruit for the Lord, and that you will too!