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 15:2 (5-8 completes the thought)
You know the feeling, of total peace, when you are walking in blessing and things click along. Even if moments of "whatever" occur, you generally have a "Peace that surpasses all understand", versus the feeling of bumping into brick walls, closed doors, hearing-"NO"s all the time, feeling invisible and excluded. This is the "pruning stage", the "icky" feeling where it seems like everything is "a lesson learned" and you wonder WHAT is God trying to teach you! Whether it be health issues; keeping you from activities, financial issues; keeping you from blessings you think are good for you, or circumstance; one reason or another (distance, divorce, death, division) keeping you from being with the people you love, one thing is certain... this feels like the sharp set of shears cutting off the dead branches.
Often the most painful experiences produce the most fruitful outcome. In some circumstances, there is no explanation that makes the hard circumstances bearable, especially suffering or death of loved one, or a beloved relationship. I don't believe God causes these circumstances, but I do believe, He will use them for good. In these times of "cutting branches" we turn our eyes to God, and seek His comfort, His will and HIS direction for our lives. That focus produces beautiful fruit, always. Often that intense listening (and importantly that HEARING) comes from suffering and the ability that follows to HEAR, then see God's plan, His perfect plan for our Unique LIFE. It is when we let God BE God.
Our fruit (or flowers) become the most beautiful when we have been carefully pruned by the Master Gardner. He knows how we "look" the best, so he takes off what we need taken off. I am so thankful for the times of peace and blessing! But I think I am thankful for this time, because I have been through pruning and shearing! Here is to fruit and flowers, and enjoying those lovely things! (Phil 4:8)