I felt like a light bulb went off in my head this morning, having to do with the “pruning and discipline of the Lord”. Recognizing the Lord’s hand in your life can make all the difference in the world.
In the Mass readings recently, we’ve been hearing a lot about how the Lord prunes those whom he loves so that they can bear even more fruit….. “every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:2) In Hebrews 12, we also read that “the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. …. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline.” (Heb. 12:6-8)
It’s not fun to be pruned. It is often difficult and not pleasant. “All pruning is painful, yet it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Heb. 12:11)
If you don’t realize that it’s the Lord doing the pruning, it can be even more difficult. Perhaps you blame others for your suffering ……. perhaps believing you’re being unjustly treated, not being appreciated, not understood….”hey, I’m getting a raw deal here.” However, if we understand it’s the Lord allowing the suffering, then it’s easier to embrace and allow the pruning to have its good effect. Yet, still “easier said than done”.
We have a great example of how to embrace the pruning from the Lord in the life of King David. While fleeing Absalom, a certain Shimei came along and cursed him repeatedly…. David’s general wanted to kill the man, but David responded “If he is cursing because the LORD has sent him, let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD has bidden him.It may be that the LORD will look upon my affliction, and that the LORD will repay me with good for this cursing of me today.”(2 Sam. 16:5-13) Wow, David discerned that somehow the Lord was involved in this trial and he better not try to weasel out of it.
So the “net-net” of this BLOG is that we can mistake God’s pruning in our life for some sort of injustice or hardship or unfairness. As I look back over the past several years, I see how I fought against certain difficulties, feeling that I was getting a raw deal or not being treated fairly. I’m now thinking that the Lord might have been orchestrating all of it and actually pruning and disciplining me for my good, to help me grow in holiness, in order to produce the “peaceful fruit of righteousness in me”. Wow, this is what I pray and hope for….. to grow in holiness. Lord let us always see your hand at work in our life so we can embrace it fully…. even when it’s painful. Hey, more good news. Thank you Lord.