“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (John 15:1-8 )
In reading these verses again, I am seeing something I have not seen fully before. When the branches requires nutrients or strength or whatever branches need to grow, they call on the vines to bring to them what is needed. In the same way Jesus is telling his followers that what ever they need, Jesus or the Spirit will provide it for them.
I had not truly considered the full implications of that; that not only is there strength in being connected to Jesus, but that we can call on Jesus to fulfill our needs, but that support will come as naturally and as smoothly as sap flows from the vines to the branches.
Something else that occurs to me; it is not painless for the vine to have to have the branches taken off. I have seen trees and bushes that have been pruned, and the sap that is delivered to the branches through the vines oozes still after the branch is cut off. There is a special solvent that is put on newly cut vines so that the sap does not endlessly and uselessly flows. And that even branches that are producing are trimmed to make sure that they produce bountiful fruit.
This is true for flowers too. I have learned that rose bushes bloom better when the roses are picked than when they are left on to lose petals. This pleases me because I am a lover of roses, and around the backyard where we live there are many rose bushes. I pluck the roses without remorse because I know it is the best thing to do. In the same way in the fall the gardening crew comes around a severely cuts back the roses and other flowering bushes. But each spring new growth starts and abundantly. The old needs to be cut out to make way for the new.
Now I do not like to be pruned or have my best efforts be ‘picked and used’. But I know it is for my own good. May you be pruned gently in God’s time and may you produce useful fruit or flowers abundantly.