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Friday, July 27, 2012

A Little Snip Never Hurt Anybody.

Long before Rick Warren joked with presidential hopeful, Barak Obama, during the 2008 debates, often I would say, " it's not about about me." Like all great words of wisdom, they are trifling harder to do than to say. As humble a servant of Jesus I would like to be, I fail. I fail both constantly and consistently. I fail monumentally. I fail in all areas but none so hard and fast as in humility. Man could sooner unravel the fabric of time and knit it back again than to be conscious of his own humility. The moment he becomes aware of it, instantaneously he is seduced by his vanity. It is horrifying, once you understand any and everyone's best attempt at being charitable is an extension of their selfish motives. It would be a viscous, never ending cycle except for God's grace.
 God's grace is so beautiful to those who know it. Parents name their daughters for it. Developers name roads for it. Singers sing about it. Preachers preach about. You can't earn it or get more of it, but you can learn more about it. The more you learn about God's grace, the more addictive to it you become. After my recent surgery, and throughout the recovery process , I have been reminded the free gift of God's grace comes the less palatable free gift of God's discipline.
Just a few days before the operation, my mother came to visit me. In her attempt to calm my anxieties about my health, we surveyed my lawn. Her lawn looks like a picture from Better Homes & Garden magazine and she has helped make my landscaping a success. As she pointed out my problems and progress we stopped at my rose bush. My rose's were picturesque. Surely my mother would praise my efforts. Instead, she predictably informed me on how to improve them. " They are beautiful son, but they need pruning if you want them to produce more blooms". She went on to explain that the growth had maxed out the bush. Since the light could no longer penetrate the plant, the existing blooms would exhaust the plant and stifle new growth. So the next day I began to do as she suggested. I have never seen a more pitiful rose, but I trusted her. I new she wanted to help me and knew her knowledge of roses surpassed mine, immensely.

During the process, I knew that God was about to do the same thing in my life. Both spiritually and physically , He was removing things that were hindering my ability to grow. He was going to snip off of me, ( no pun intended) whatever needed to go, in order to get more of His light to penetrate. Jesus says it like this, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit John 15 :8." I knew His knowledge surpassed mine and that I must trust Him. Here are a couple of revelations:                                                      
No pain no gain. The moment I awoke from the surgery, I was in less pain than before. I knew I was on the way to recovery. Still, I would not have chosen this path for myself. Now the pain from the surgery is almost a memory. Looking back, this time afforded me time with my girls during the summer. Also, I was able to study, reflect, and  meditate, in capacities I never had before. I would not trade this time to pain free. 

Sometimes it is about me. So I can glorify Him of course. My feeble efforts in humility are only matched by nearsighted logic. In my wholehearted willingness to convey to the world Christ in my life, I would say, "It's not about me." Unknowingly, robbing God of praise for His love of me. Maybe it was the attention I got during my hospital stay and recovery but seeing all this equipment set up for my benefit, and so many people working on me, and some many people praying for me, got me to thinking. God had planned all this for me. The Holy Spirit brought my name to my praying friends. He planned and  provided for me. He even made time to prune me.He will do the same for anyone. St. Irenaeous said," The glory of God is man fully alive." Likewise, Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John10:10" My life is about Him, because his death was about me. If He loves me enough to die for me, I can trust Him with the pruning and with the results.