I sawed the top off my favorite living room plant. As I painted tree-wound tar on the open end, I hoped and prayed it would grow again. This wasn’t totally crazy. The tree’s growth had been slowing for a year. Each new growth weaker and sicker than the last. The lush green of its first growth just a memory. YouTube promised if I pruned the tree back, it would grow again. And everything on YouTube is true. So as I sat there, nursing the laceration on my knuckle sustained from trying to put a saw away in the pitch dark, my anxiety grew. Because now the tree is ugly. And I’m afraid it might not grow back. I search the trunk daily, looking for new growth. Every time I do, I think of Jesus. Do you think that’s why He spoke so often in allegories, metaphors, and parables? So that simple, everyday actions would constantly repaint His words in our minds? John 15:1-2 says: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” Yes, the time of pruning is painful for the one being pruned. No, the immediate results aren’t pretty. But, watching for growth on my houseplant has made the process of watching for growth in my heart infinitely easier. I see that pruning is strategic. I know that abundance is the goal. And I’ve arrived at a new appreciation for the skill of our Master Gardener. The One who loves us so much, He wounds us to grow us. Action Step: Read John 15:1-6. How is God pruning you?