Journey to the Cross–March 11

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.” (Jn. 15:1-2, NRSV)

Everybody wants to have purpose and significance—because God made us that way! What that looks like for each individual is unique, however, because God has created each one of us uniquely. Some of us are made to create beauty, others to share wisdom. Some offer gifts of organization, encouragement, healing, or service. All of us are called to cultivate godly character—mercy, kindness, patience, righteousness, love, goodness, and so on.

Remembering that we were created to be fruitful—to flourish and be productive in God’s beautiful kingdom—brings helpful perspective for times of loss, trial, and hardship. There are different reasons difficulties and disappointments enter our lives—but no matter the cause, God always has a redemptive purpose for them. He is a Master Gardener, an expert vinegrower. He knows how to use the hard stuff to bring good fruit from our lives.

What difficulties or losses are you facing right now? Ask God to show you how He might be using these hard things for “pruning” purposes in your life. What good fruit will come as you trust Him to help you during this season of pruning? For example, how might a rocky work environment, a difficult relationship, or a chronic health problem cultivate godly character?

Talk to Him about your thoughts and feelings. Let Him comfort your fears and sadness. Invite Him to encourage your heart. Ask Him to increase your faith. Or offer Him your trust. Whatever is stirring in your heart—offer that to Him knowing that He is good and His plans for you are good.

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