On Saturday as I was trimming some of the shrubs in my yard, I was reminded of the grace and mercy that God daily bestows on us. Not only does trimming bushes help me relax and enjoy the creation, it paints a picture into some of the wonders of our Savior. Shrub trimming can be the absolute perfect analogy for how God shelters, disciplines, and causes us to grow. Not only can we see the ways that He does this for us, we can see the results and the measures by which we bear fruit.
Sometimes a shrub needs to be given a "haircut" and lightly trimmed in order to help it to keep it's shape and continue to flourish. This is not really noticed on the part of the shrub and it continues to grow and flourish without a struggle. However, sometimes a shrub needs to be cut way back. To be brought low, in order to give it a chance to regain some strength and fullness. Not only do you cut off the amount needed to reshape the plant, but instead you cut it back so far as you can without killing it.
So it is with us sometimes. God sanctifies us and makes us holy by giving us a small pruning and keeping us growing strong and healthy. In other times we need to be either disciplined or corrected in our theology and cut back so far that in that moment it hurts tremendously. Yet, as we begin to recover from this drastic trimming of all the excess in our life, we begin to grow anew. Not only do we put forth new shoots of growth, but the ones that have been left continue to grow more full and healthy. Sometimes, the only way that God can lovingly care for us, is to cut us and cut us deeply. He does not do this in order to hurt us, but in order to love us to the fullest.
If I were to leave the shrubs in my yard alone, and only occasionally trim them lightly, they would grow into monstrous, ugly, and stringy bushes that are an eyesore. However, if I occasionally give them a hard trim, cut them way back, they will continue to grow and flourish and be something that is beautifully created. How then can we blame God for anything? Does He not use both the good and the bad to grow His children into the people that He has called us to be? We are called to be holy, therefore should we not then rejoice instead of curse when we receive a hard trim and are forced to rely more wholly upon Jesus for our daily needs? Often, we think that we are better off sending out shoots, showing off something that we think we have done well or that we boast in, and instead of it being beautiful, God looks at it and says that it needs to be cut off.
Our beauty and majesty is only found in Christ. If we claim anything else, may we receive these hard, deep cuts of sanctification. And then in the good times when we are portraying the majesty of Jesus, let us grow into a person who oozes forth the holiness of our God and continues to grow in every aspect in the Lord.