by DanWolgemuth on May 15, 2015

Several weeks ago on an ideal Saturday afternoon, I took a pruning saw and clipper to my back yard. We have three trees that are flourishing, but in their exuberant growth they had outpaced both aesthetics and convenience, and so they needed a gardener’s hand.

With exceptional care I picked the branches to trim. As each was removed I would step away from my work to recalibrate the next step in the process. It’s not easy to grow a healthy deciduous tree in our back yard in Denver, so I used special care and appropriate respect as I picked and pruned.

Once trimming was complete I sealed each exposed wound with comprehensive care. Mission accomplished.

As winter turned to spring, budding trees extolled the virtues of my work. Mission accomplished indeed.

Then came the Saturday night before Mother’s Day. What began as a renegade May dusting of snow turned into an all out storm. Snow fell. Very wet and heavy snow fell.

I used a broom and an extension pole to confront the mounting weight, but my capability to reach was exceeded by the magnitude of the issue. I pulled the white flag from my pocket and hoped for the best.

Temperatures dove and on Sunday morning we gazed out our bedroom window at the damage. Many, many branches down. Some lay on the eight inches of snow that covered the grass, others clung like displaced fractures throughout the foliage.

Nature had pruned with far less precision than I had. The winter assault hadn’t stepped back to check the aesthetics of the work. Crisis lopped off what I would never have touched with my saw.

Sometimes pruning happens by thoughtful design, and sometimes by unanticipated and unwelcome storms. Sometimes with the stroke of a razor sharp blade and sometimes under unbearable weight.

Alive still, but shaped differently. Green, but with bald spots and scars.

Sometimes with thoughtful discipline, and sometimes by suffering, pain, grief and brokenness. Sometimes right on schedule, and sometimes in a May blizzard.

What was uncontrollable for me, is safely in the Master’s hand. He shapes and prunes by His design and for His purpose.

“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2)

Sometimes with a pruning saw, sometimes with a spring snow.

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