Doug Creamer: Pruning is good!

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 8, 2023

By Doug Creamer

There is a large pile in front of my house waiting for the limb pickup. Some of the limbs came down in storms back around the holidays. I put them off to the side at the time because there were too many other things that needed attention. The other part of the pile is from pruning that we did to some of our bushes.

For the last couple of weekends we have worked out in our yard pruning things back. Some of our shrubs get annual trimming while others only get occasional pruning. Trimming only involves using the electric hedge clippers. Pruning involves getting the loppers and pruners and taking out bigger limbs. By the looks of the pile out front, we took out some big pieces of the shrubs we were pruning.

When you look at freshly pruned shrubs they don’t look full and attractive. In fact, they look rather sparse. My wife has taught me repeatedly that pruning is very good for plants. I have become proficient at pruning our butterfly bushes and hydrangea. She has taught me how to prune them way back.

I know that grapevines have to be pruned back in order to produce a good crop of grapes. Pruned plants come back stronger and healthier. Some people mow down raspberry canes and they come back each year producing those wonderful berries. I have watched my wife prune back her plants we bring in for the winter before they return to the outdoors. She prunes them, and adds fresh soil and fertilizer.

Pruning takes away weak and unwanted growth. Sometimes when she finishes the plant will only have a few sprigs sticking up. Usually within a couple of weeks new growth starts to emerge and she ends up with stronger, fuller and healthier plants. The same thing will happen with our shrubs. Within a few weeks we will see new growth that will look great.

The trouble I have with pruning comes when I apply it to my life. I know and understand that pruning is a good thing. I understand that God will come along and prune me back spiritually because he wants to see new growth and fruit in my life. The evidence is all around that pruning is a good thing. But when God comes along with the pruners in His hand I want to run.

I feel the same way when people talk about the seasons of life. I love when I sense a springtime arriving in my spiritual life. I can sense His spirit moving and working through me and I can see the fruit that is being produced in my life. What I don’t like is when I sense that fall is in the air. When I feel like God is bringing on a quiet season of winter rest, I am ready to jump on a spiritual plane and fly to South America for warm days and sunny skies.

God has given us plenty of signals in nature that life moves in cycles. The tide comes in and goes out at the beach. We have four seasons. Plants sprout, grow, produce fruit, and then go dormant and rest. Every plant needs a season of rest before producing the next season of flowers and fruit.

God has to come along with pruners so we will be stronger and produce more fruit for Him. He isn’t being harsh and uncaring; He is being the exact opposite. He is examining us and looking for weak growth to remove so we will grow stronger and healthier. He sees the potential that is locked away inside us and wants to encourage it to come out.

God lovingly prunes out unwanted growth to make room for fresh, new growth in our lives. God even allows seasons of drought so our roots will grow deeper in Him. The deep roots are necessary to hold us firm through the storms of life. Actually, we should be excited when we see God coming our way with the pruners because that means we are emerging into a new season of growth and fruitfulness. He is preparing us for a bright future.

I want to encourage you in whatever season of life you find yourself in…trust God! Enjoy the growing and fruitful times. Rest in and with the Lord during the dormant seasons. Don’t be afraid when you see God coming at you with the pruners. I know it hurts when He cuts things back, but He sees something better and stronger in you. He has a close eye on you and is dreaming of your new season of growth and fruitfulness.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or

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