The Click of the Pruning Shears
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:8, niv
The firm “click” of the Gardener’s pruning shears can be heard in our lives when . . .
we are confined to a hospital room,
we are fired from a job,
we are moved to a new place, surrounded by strangers,
we are isolated in a new job, surrounded by unbelievers.
Your purpose, and mine, is to bring glory to God. Jesus reiterated this purpose as He concluded His challenge to the disciples to be fruitful in service: “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
You will not bear much fruit unless and until you submit to the cutting and clipping of the Gardener. Therefore, when you resist His “gardening” in your life, what you are really doing is refusing to glorify God and therefore aborting the very purpose for your existence. Solemn thoughts, aren’t they?
My Heart’s Cry, (Nashville: W Publishing, 2002).
©2012 Anne Graham Lotz. All rights reserved.
THE KEY TO A LIFE OF IMPACT
What are the secrets to a life of impact? Daniel achieved greatness in the eyes of his contemporaries, in the eyes of history, and most importantly, in the eyes of God. His faith did not waver as he faced his critics, as he served new kings in power, or even as he confronted hungry lions. How can we achieve that kind of faith today? Twenty intentional, key choices made all the difference. Daniel’s choices can be ours, such as:
• The choice to listen
• The choice to forgive
• The choice to pray
Micah Maddox |
You may never understand it. It’s those moments in life when everything stops. The normal flow of life is put on hold and you pray that somehow relief will come. The struggles run deep and life begins to feel impossible. When life brings unbearable circumstances it’s hard to understand why a loving God would allow heartache, pain, turmoil, and strife. How do we find purpose in painful circumstances?
I could share my own testimony of watching my adoptive dad suffer through cancer and give you all the beautiful stories of how God proved He was working through the unbearable suffering. I could tell you about my birth father who abandoned me and how the pain in my heart stayed fresh well into my adult life; yet the healing that has taken place is more powerful than the pain. I could express what it’s like to watch a child endure sickness and not be able to bring relief, yet know that God’s presence is with me and my child through it all. But more powerful than my words is God’s Word.
Over and over we see stories and verses that bring us back to the same place. Some call it peace. Some call it perseverance. Some express it as strength beyond their mind. But all of these things point to the same thing over and over – and that is God’s glory.
When we stay focused on God’s glory, we will be able to find purpose in the most painful circumstances of life. I am not saying it is easy or simple, but I am saying it is absolutely possible.
Why Would God Allow This?
I’ve heard the question many times, “Why would God allow this?” I have asked the same question. It’s in that very moment we have a choice – a choice to trust or turn away. Sometimes when we face insurmountable trials, it seems we are paralyzed, sitting stagnant in the pain we are enduring with no purpose and no prayer. The Holy Spirit is able to utter the words that we cannot but we must trust that God is able to deliver, heal, forgive, understand, love, and passionately provide for us.
The Real Purpose Is Not about Us
We may never fully understand the purpose of our problems. As I’ve dwelt on this more and more, I keep coming back to the same word – glory. Not my own or anyone else’s, but God’s. Life is all about Him. The next time the question “Why would God allow this” comes up in your mind or a conversation, consider that the answer is simply for God’s glory. Somehow, someway God is using the difficult, tragic situations for good.
It’s all for God’s glory.There is an acrostic for G-L-O-R-Y that helps me when I am struggling to find purpose in painful circumstances and I hope it encourages you too.
G – God
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
When trying times threaten to derail everything normal in life, rather than question and worry, run to God. He is able to make something beautiful when everything is broken. It sounds trite sometimes but it is true. The healer of the deepest wounds is God.
L – Love
“And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself’” (Luke 10:27).
Let God love you. Then as passionately as you can love Him back with all your heart, your soul, and your mind. Ask Him to let His love flow through you to those around you. Your deepest love may come from your deepest wound. Difficult circumstances tend to make us more aware of the heartache around us. When we feel deeply the sting of sorrow, we feel for others who walk the path of sorrow behind us. This is God’s glory on display. Let love be the way you walk through the tough stuff.
O – Obey
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).
It’s leaning in to hear the still small voice that says, “I’m with you”. Listen. And follow. He will not lead you astray. Sometimes it’s hard to know which way to go when painful circumstances fill up your life to the brim. Doing what God says to do is the only thing that will really get you to where you want to go.
R – Repent
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
If you’ve turned away or shaken your fist at God in light of tragedy, pain, or unbearable life events, He understands. He loves you and is always ready and willing to forgive. Don’t live a life of regret because of how you responded to God in the heat of the moment. Let God’s forgiveness fill up the broken parts of your heart.
Y – Yes
“Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it” (Psalm 37:5).
Say yes to God. The first word we react with when we get bad news or a terrifying phone call is no. Whatever life holds, say yes. God knows. He knew before it happened. And knows where you are right now. Trust Him.
Even when it hurts, and even when it’s hard, and even when life seems horrible – God has a purpose. His plan will prevail. We may not be able to see it. We may never completely understand it, but we can trust that God will ultimately get the glory for whatever this life holds.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).
God Deserves the Glory
By Micah Maddox
We may never understand the why.
Our hearts may hurt and tears we cry.
But trust and faith will be our guide.
We know that God is by our side.
Every moment, everyday,
When life is hard we will pray.
When we cannot grasp our story,
In good and bad we’ll give God glory.
Whatever it is in your life that makes you ask God for a purpose in the pain, look for God in it. Let Him love you and love Him back. Obey. Repent. And most of all, say yes.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Jake Givens
Micah Maddox is a women’s event speaker, Bible teacher, and author of Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full Life in a Problem-Filled World. She is passionate about helping women find purpose, peace, and calm in our chaotic world. Micah is on the Proberbs31 First5 Writing Team. As a pastor’s wife, mother of three, and foster mom, she contributes her time to her family and local church serving as a women’s ministry leader. Micah loves to give a voice to hurting hearts and writes to the one who needs encouragement. You can connect with her at micahmaddox.com.