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 (NIV)
Do I know the difference? I’m not sure I do. Conceptually I understand. Pruning is supposed to be that little snip here and there, deadheading, and shaping, while cutting is chopping off a dead branch or even more drastic, the whole top of something and starting over. One action is a hopeful trim while the other is not so hopeful, more resignation I’d say. Oh sure, there are times that a major cutting happens and the plant regroups and sprouts all over again, but how often does that happen?
I really do get the difference. I have cut back plants to the point that I think I killed them and yet the plants don’t see it that way. They see it as a good pruning and they come back better than before. That is the difference between pruning and cutting. Pruning helps the plant flourish and grow bigger and better.
When an idea or a planned future is cut off from out lives, how are we interpreting it? I have assumed that broken dreams were God’s way of saying, “no, not that!” But really, it’s possible that it was just a re-direction. It was really a pruning… maybe it felt like cutting because I had carried the plan along too far without checking in. Who knows?
I know I’m in Christ. I’m in the plant… the vine. And if that’s the case, it’s all pruning, every change out of my control and in God’s control has tremendous potential. I think it’s time to really embrace the shifts and snips.