24 Mar Pruned
I received this note the other day from Dr. Linda Reed, who is one of the adjunct professors at Heritage Bible College and Seminary, and wife to our President Dr. Rick Reed. I am board chair, so Linda thought I might appreciate her thoughts on what she and Rick are going through in this season, as she had penned this to send to their grown children who all live in other parts. I found this so encouraging and uplifting that I wanted to share it with you (with her permission).
A Master Gardener, an older kindly gentleman, came to prune our apple tree yesterday. He doesn’t seem to know there is a coronavirus – he’s whistling while he works outside.
He mentioned that he had asked advice from a professional apple grower. That advice: “Don’t feel sorry for the tree.”
And so he whacked deeply. What was before a fifteen to twenty-foot tree is now reachable with our hands. It’s breadth was as great as its width – is now simply nine bare branches. No stalks, no frills, no spindles, no . . . nothing.
Every now and then as he cut so deeply, he patted the tree. A tree whisperer.
As I watched from my window, safely living within social distancing, I felt my own heart resonating with the tree. What had been in our lives just a few short weeks ago, classes, academic courses, preaching and teaching all about the province, gym workouts, friendly visits, and essential prayer times are now all laying on the ground.
The Master Gardener has pruned us deeply.
In one week, between a dozen to two dozen people have been laid off from Heritage. Refunding all the students for room/board and cancelling all spring and summer conferencing has changed everything financially. Faculty are struggling to move online and future enrollment is uncertain. The school is shuttered, the doors are locked. We are now simply a few bare branches. No stalks, no frills, no spindles, no…nothing.
We know that “every branch that does not bear fruit, He takes away. And every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:1-2).
Somehow this complete dismemberment, is still part of His all things that work together for good (Rom 8:28). He pats. A tree whisperer: “Abide in me. This will produce “more fruit.” That’s His part.
Our part, He says:
1. Abide. Not only quarantined at home – but to abide closely with Him (15:4).
2. Trust. Completely. Where? What? How? Do whatever He says (15:4-7).
3. Let His Word abide. (If you abide in Me and My words abide in you (15:7)
4. Ask. (Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you – 15:7, 15:16).
5. Seek His glory, and it will Bear much fruit and prove our discipleship (15:8)
6. Love (15: 10, 12, 13, 17).
7. See His joy made full (15:11)
A Master Gardener, a kindly Father, came to prune our tree this week. We may ask, “how long will it be? Be sorry for your servants” (Ps. 90:13). He says: “more fruit.”