Pain that Produces Life

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“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:1-2

We all go through seasons of pain. Sometimes it’s caused by our own doing, other times pain is a result of something we cannot control.

During my time with the Lord, I return to John 15 often. It’s a beautiful reminder I need for myself regularly… to abide in Christ because apart from Him I can do nothing of significance for the Kingdom. Not only is it a beautiful reminder, but a sobering one as well.

As we abide in Jesus, this verse is clearly teaching us that every branch that is connected to Him is pruned. As followers of Christ, you and I are those branches that may need some pruning now and again. This may sound nice in the moment, but guess what? Pruning can be a painful process.

When trees, branches, or gardens are pruned, usually there are scissors and sharp tools involved. Dead branches need to be cut off so that the tree can live. Old parts need to be removed so that fruit can grow. Useless parts need to be eliminated so that life can truly flourish.

Sometimes, this exact thing needs to happen in our own heart if we are going to truly thrive.

God sees our hearts. He knows every detail our life- the good, the bad, and the ugly. When we follow Jesus, He is going to want us to deal with the bad and the ugly. If there is anything in our hearts that is robbing from His life within us- He is going to pull out His tools and get to work so that true, abundant life can be produced within us.

When I first gave my life to Christ, I quickly entered into a long season that I didn’t see coming. I won’t get into the details today, but needless to say it was three years of pain, confusion, and intense turmoil. This season was caused by my own actions, but also thru some things I couldn’t control. It was a hard season of my life, and a very painful one at that. But do you know what’s so awesome? God used all the pain from that season to produce something beautiful. The life I get to live today, the freedom and purpose I am walking in today, it’s the fruit of all the pain I had to walk thru.

When painful events happen to us, many of us want to run and hide. We often pretend like the pain doesn’t exist. When we pretend like the pain isn’t there, we mask it with the things of this world. We distract ourselves from the hurt. But when we do this, we are just putting Band-Aids on bullet holes. If we don’t confront and truly deal with the pain in our hearts, we are living a dead life. We are not living up to the potential of Christ’s life within us.

God’s desire for is not that we would run from the pain in our heart, but to take every part of our pain and surrender it to Him. When we collide our pain with His truth and love, we can find real, tangible healing for our souls. God is the ultimate Healer. When He covers our pain with His truth, our hearts can fully be restored into a beautiful masterpiece, woven together by the God of the universe.

I am so thankful for the character of God- that He redeems and restores anything that was stolen from us. When we follow Him in surrender, He is faithful “to work all things together for good.” That is a promise He will always keep.

If you have pain in your heart today, let me encourage you- don’t hide it. Don’t ignore it. Embrace it. Acknowledge and accept anything that has happened to you, but then surrender it to Jesus. When you give Him every detail of your story, He will take those details and re-write your story in ways you never thought possible. He is really good at re-writing stories, I can testify to that reality.

If you and I want to truly live, then when pain hits, we need to hold onto the goodness and promises of God. Just like a tree that produces more life after being pruned, so is our hearts in the hands of the Gardener. He wants to produce life within us, but that life can only happen when the dead parts in our heart is cut off for good.

In painful seasons and in victorious seasons, God is always looking to grow us into the image of His Son. That is our ultimate destiny, to look, think, and act like Jesus. Everything else is secondary to this main call. The Son of God walked thru moments on mountaintops, but also of deep sorrow in the valleys of life. He was the Beloved Son, but also a hated individual. He was embraced, but also despised and rejected. The word says in Isaiah, “it was the Lord’s will to crush Him…” so that anyone who puts their faith in Him will have eternal life. Just like Jesus was willing to walk thru the good, bad, and ugly of life for the will of God, are you willing to do the same? Are you willing to embrace anything the Lord will ask you to walk thru, so that people can come to know Him thru your life?

My prayer is that you will embrace this calling. Following Jesus doesn’t mean perfection. It means joy despite of pain. Peace in the midst of the storms of life. Purpose no matter where you come from.

Walk head on thru every season of life. Get lost in the word of God so your heart can find true healing. Surrender everything to the Gardener so that your heart can be pruned to be fruitful so the world will know you as His disciple.

God bless you,

Melissa


Promises and Prayers:

During that long season of my life, the following were some prayers that were woven into my heart to help me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Many of us want God to make everything better with a snap of a finger. But more often than not, God asks us to persevere through our suffering, and to build our relationship with Him so our roots go down deep. Sometimes the valleys of life are the perfect opportunity to have a deep understanding of how good God truly is. Seek Jesus today. Read His word. Ask Him to give you the strength to keep walking- He has a plan and purpose for every detail.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Matthew 26:39  Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." 

Lord, take my heart and make it clean. Help me to see you in the midst of this season. Help me to surrender every part of my life to you. Use me. My heart is yours.