|This is after I trimmed them. But imagine The Brain double in size, and covering Pinkie!|
The other day, I finally went outside, and assessed The Rose Bush Dilemma. They were a mess, I couldn't tell where one began, and the other ended. So I grabbed some shears, a shovel and gloves and went to pruning.
There emerged two bushes, distinct and beautiful. While one, The Brain, was busy growing wildly, and surrounding the second, Pinkie, it lacked the blossoms it should have been producing.
Pinkie, meanwhile, wasn't able to grow very big, but managed to fight through her sister plant, and give us wonderful pink tea roses.
As I sat back and admired what I'd done, I was struck with the comparison of God being the pruner, and me the rose bush.
Which bush was I?
Was I the one who overwhelms those next to me, shadowing them with my ideas, thoughts, and will?
Or was I the one who fought through trials, and struggled with my sins, and managed to shine in spite of it all?
In an answer: I'm both.
My tendency too speak up, and often, about what I think has lead to hurt feelings, disagreements with those I love and mis-management of what He's placed in my life. I've grown in this area a lot, recently. Mostly due to being married, and God giving me a heart to find out His plan for marriage, and then do it. But I'm still very strong willed, and pushy.
On the other hand, I've had to go through some things in the last few years, that has changed me. Made my faith stronger, and giving me a hope that I hadn't had before. And...a compassion.
I can also call the bushes Mary and Martha. Mary, the Quiet and Martha, the Busy.
Through Gods grace, there is a way to reconcile those two together. To have them work together, to make something beautiful.
Today, it's rained. Those bushes are receiving life given water, and I'll see some new growth in them. Soon, they will produce blossoms, and then roses. Sweet, sweet smelling roses.
How accurately that shows us what our faith must be like. After the pruning, there's a time of refreshing, of His life giving water, being poured into our lives. And from that, we grow. Our faith grows, our hope grows, our understanding and wisdom grows. Our witness grows.
It's the natural cycle of life as a believer, though some might wish to skip the pruning part. For various reasons, people don't want to hurt anymore, to fear anymore, to put up with this world anymore.
I can relate to that, as can Paul, who writes in Philippians, “20 It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23 I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25 Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26 so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again. “
My faith, and my trials are fruitful labor, for it encourages, and builds up those around me in their faith. Paul says it's necessary for him to stay and live, to show Christ to as many as he can. Though he wishes to die, and considers it gain, and far better.
What can I do to have the nature of Paul? To be so much more concerned with those living, than my own skin, and desires? It's a beautiful picture of sacrificial love, that we must have towards one another. A complete willingness to share what He would have us share: our faith, our goods, our hearts, and our lives. For nothing is ours, but all is His.