"...he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more." (John 15:2)

A few years ago we had hurricanes just three weeks apart. At our home, the first storm ripped off the nails and wire cords that held the thick bouganvilla vine into the concrete. When we were able to return home, we found the entire enormous plant down on the concrete.

My husband got a chain saw to begin work on cleanup. We had huge piles of tree limbs, spindly branches, and gnarly trunks, more than twenty-five years' worth. What remained were little stumps. Literally they looked like dead sticks that were just stuck in the ground.

We went out of town after that, and when we came back, did we have a surprise! Just two weeks to the day that my husband had cut it all down, it was loaded - loaded! - with new growth. Beautiful thick green leaves, and long sturdy branches.

I got it. I finally got the the story about “pruning” that's in the bible (John 15). I never had really understood it until I witnessed firsthand this thing with our vine. It seems Jesus spoke so often in terms of agricultural terms. The people must have understood stories that related to trees, plants, seeds, and growing conditions. Probably made perfect sense to them. And now it does to me too.

You know what they say, you have to experience something to understand it. I guess that is the gift - or one of them - that God gave me through the loss of this bouganvilla vine. And I am grateful for that, and for the implications of the story that are now brought to light for me. I fully expect the vine to bud any day now. I also expect a bumper crop of magnificent fuchsia colored flowers.

So when I experience clipping, snipping, and chopping - aka pruning - at the hand of the Master gardener, maybe I can remember this principle. Cutting back - for more. More growth. More production. It works. And it works for me.

That is good news.

Sally I. Kennedy