My Father is the gardener. (John 15: 1)
It is a comforting thought that trouble, in whatever form it comes to us, is a heavenly messenger that brings us something from God. Outwardly it may appear painful or even destructive, but inwardly its spiritual work produces blessings. Many of the richest blessings we have inherited are the fruit of sorrow or pain. We should never forget that redemption, the world’s greatest blessing, is the fruit of the world’s greatest sorrow. And whenever a time of deep pruning comes and the knife cuts deeply and the pain is severe, what an inexpressible comfort it is to know: “My Father is the gardener.”
John Vincent, a Methodist Episcopal bishop of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and a leader of the Sunday school movement in America, once told of being in a large greenhouse where clusters of luscious grapes were hanging on each side. The owner of the greenhouse told him, “When the new gardener came here, he said he would not work with the vines unless he could cut them completely down to the stalk. I allowed him to do so, and we had no grapes for two years, but this is now the result.”
There is rich symbolism in this account of the pruning process when applied to the Christian life. Pruning seems to be destroying the vine, and the gardener appears to be cutting everything away. Yet he sees the future and knows that the final result will be the enrichment of the life of the vine, and a greater abundance of fruit.
There are many blessings we will never receive until we are ready to pay the price of pain, for the path of suffering is the only way to reach them.
~J. R. Miller
I walked a mile with Pleasure,
She chattered all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me.
Cowman, L. B. E.; Jim; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 357). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.