November 22, 2023
His Hands Will Not Harm You
RACHEL MARIE KANG
Lee en español
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” John 15:1 (NIV)
Right about now, I’m missing the sweetness of summer — missing the pool and the way the water held me. Missing my now-kindergartener son following me like a shadow stitched to my own. And I miss the bounty of blueberries freshly picked from bushes. I miss the way they melted in my mouth one after another after another.
But I do not miss the lesson the blueberries taught me. For the lesson lingers with me still.
It was the four of us — my husband, my two sons and me. We pulled up to the shaded parking lot reserved for no more than two cars. Then we met the farmer, Gail. She showed us around the blueberry farm, pointing out the varieties — the Blue Ridge, the Tifblue, the O’Neal.
“Your tongue has to be blue by the time you leave here,” she told us. She wanted us to eat blueberries, as many as we wanted. She insisted we find our favorite variety and fill our gallon buckets until they overflowed.
So there we were, sweating and picking blueberries in the hot summer sun. It was almost as if the more we picked, the more we saw. I couldn’t help but stand in awe of the abundance. After we filled our buckets, we measured our berries. Then we snipped some zinnias from the U-Pick flower garden. But before we could hike the trail down to the creek, Gail had us sit down to hear the story of the farm.
“We had to strip the berries from the bushes for two whole years,” she told us. She said that stripping the blueberries was the only way to ensure the bushes would establish roots that would allow them to endure harsh seasons and flourish with fruit. She told us these discarded blueberries weren’t even to be saved for jams or sold for profit.
My husband and I looked at each other, and I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was thinking the same thing I was. The past year had been filled with loss upon loss for us — in our marriage, in our family, in our jobs, in our circle of friends, and in the lives of our children. We'd felt the pain of pruning — the stripping away of good and seemingly fruitful things — and the exhaustion of enduring a season that seemed to continue without end.
And yet, as painful as it feels to be pruned, I can’t help but see how God is still good. It reminds me of John 15:1, where Jesus told His disciples, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” For those who remain in Jesus, pruning serves a productive and powerful purpose. All farmers and gardeners know to prune if they want their farms and gardens to flourish. Likewise, we must be pruned by our Father, who knows exactly what hindrances to remove from our lives, if we want to flourish with the fruit of the Lord.
Now, here we are. Cold weather, holiday season and all. And yet I cannot get over the truth that in every season, God’s hands are good, and His hands will not harm us. For God our Father, the good Gardener, doesn't prune us to punish us. He prunes us that we might produce good fruit (John 15:2).
Fruit that faithfully grows.
Fruit that endures.
Fruit that feeds and nourishes and heals those who partake of it.
Fruit that bears witness to God’s goodness, ultimately bringing glory to His name.
God, open my eyes to see that You are pruning me for a greater purpose. Help me to remain in You, abide in You and grow in You. Thank You for the goodness that grows beneath the surface. Thank You for loving and leading me through all my seasons. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Our new study guide, Keep Holding On: 30 Promises From God You Can Cling to Right Now, is offered at a discount of 40% off for this week only! Get your copy, and check out the rest of our Cyber Week Sale happening now. Click here to get it before it’s gone.
Cultivate creativity and calm through soulful poems, prompts and prayers with Rachel Marie Kang’s book, Let There Be Art.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
John 15:2, “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” (NIV).
What is the Lord pruning in your life right now? What is helping you to see His work in your life as good?
We’re always here to hear your heart — come and share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2023 by Rachel Marie Kang. All rights reserved.