I had one of those light bulb moments this morning; you know, your brain is foggy, you're dutifully eating your pasty but good-for-you oatmeal, and you're looking at a Scripture verse for minutes on end while your mind is somewhere else, and then....Blink! The light is turned on.
First, though, there was coffee and a bit of "discussion" with Safety Bill this morning. I like to say we discuss things, but anyone listening in might say "That sounds more like arguing." But that's only because when I "discuss" things, I tend to get a little vehement, a little heated, and Safety Bill gets more quiet and goes on high alert--like he's thinking that the boiler pressure relief valve might let go. His thinking is Safety first. Mine is Make Way for Truth. We try to meet in the middle.
But there's no middle ground when God is pruning you. That's what I've been thinking about lately. John 15:2 alludes to some kind of "pruning" that God does in our life--like you're an apple tree and God is going to lop off a few branches. NOT! If that were the case, you would know what was going on when God was pruning you. It's easy to see the branches come off--if that were pruning.
But the Greek word here has to do with God purging your life. It's more of a vicious cleansing than a lopping off. He takes what is mixed-up in your life and un-mixes it. He removes things. He peels things away. And I'm convinced that when God is pruning, you feel more of a panic and dismay than a non-chalant attitude of "Oh, that's just God pruning me."
I don't think we have to go around pretending that we like being pruned. When we're going through a confusing, botched up situation and things are falling apart in our life, and we feel a little uncertain about what the heck is going on, and someone asks you how you're doing, we don't need to give some spiel about how wonderful it is to walk with God and be pruned. It's better to say, "I feel like I'm in a storm. I'm a bit confused as to what God is doing in my life right now. It's all a b it murky right now."
But hold on for the light bulb moment! Because at some point down the road, it WILL come on. Matthew 5:8 says, "Blessed are the PURE in heart, for they will see God." And in this case, the word PURE has the same Greek root word meaning as PRUNED: you're PURE because God has purged you, He's made you clean in your motives, He's removed undesirable elements from your life. And if you've ever prayed to see God more clearly, He'll take you up on that prayer. He'll shake up your staid life, purge things from it, remove the impure motives, and make you look like a mess all the while it's happening. (Ask Job.)
But hang in there, friend. Because blessed are the pure (and pruned and radically purged)--they're going to see God. When God has messed up your organized life a little, and torn apart your nest, and re-arranged relationships and purged addictions from your life, get ready for some major light-bulb moments. You're about to see things in a whole new light. You're about to see God. And when you do, you'll be glad that when you were this close to giving up, you didn't. Because like Job, though He slay you and purge you, yet you trust Him... to see you through.