Refining & Pruning – Delayed Gratification


I’ll admit right off the bat…I’m neither a horticulturist or a metallurgist. I am, however, an avid reader and an observer of nature. I’ve witnessed the pruning process first-hand. I’ve also read many pieces on the refining process. I know how they both work, and I know why each process is a necessity to purification and growth. So, why is it when God does them to us, we almost always complain? Can’t we see what He is doing and what we will be like on the other side of the process? Honestly…not really.

I would love to sit here and tell you I’ve always been at peace with the processes God uses to purify and grow me. But that would be a lie. Even though hindsight is 20-20, I still don’t always appreciate the things I’ve had to go through to get where I am. And, I know that I am in the midst of a refining and pruning time right now. Cancer is an all too familiar word. We here it daily. Many of us have had first-hand experiences with it, either as a cancer sufferer or as a loved one forced to stand by and watch it take its toll on someone we love. For those of us who have to deal with it a second time, it becomes an even greater nuisance. We know what’s happening…we know what we’re about to experience with the treatments devised to make us better…we know what sacrifices our family must make to get us whole again…and, let’s mince no words…we hate every minute of it.

Now, with that being said, God offers His “peace that transcends all understanding” that “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). He also offers His presence through the difficult times. This is why David could say, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; I fear no evil, for You are with me…” (Psalm 23:4). Growth is a part of life. We can avoid the painful parts of life and be satisfied with the minimal life offers. Or we can embrace the difficult times (the times of refining and pruning) and welcome the growth that comes from such times. In fact, I’ve learned more from mistakes and tragedies than I’ve ever learned from perfection (those minute moments in my life).

So, in the midst of my cancer…in round two against lymphoma…as I approach a time where my bone marrow will be intentionally killed in order to make way for fresh, new, cancer-free stem cells, I will submit to the grace and loving touch of the Master. I will keep my eyes on the prize and my eyes open wide to see the lessons I am to learn during the journey. I covet your prayers as I armor up, for I know the enemy will do what he can to discourage me along the way. Pray that I keep my eyes on Jesus…for He is the ultimate prize of life.


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