Think of your favorite book, the one you read in one sitting because you just couldn’t bear to put it down. The Hobbit? One of the Harry Potter books? A best seller by John Grisham or Clive Cussler? I bet it wasn’t the Bible.
We agree that the Bible is important reading, but is it exciting? Once you know that Noah survives the flood, that David confesses his sin regarding Uriah and Bathsheba, and that Jesus rises from the dead, you’ve got to admit that the Bible just isn’t that suspenseful. In fact, reading it often feels like hard work.
I’ve been moping around the house a lot lately, feeling moderately miserable. It’s nothing earth-shattering—nothing that won’t mend in time. I’ve just been feeling a bit of emotional pain.
God’s been after me with a pair of pruning shears.
As a gardener, I’m very familiar with the whys and wherefores of pruning. Jesus must have been familiar with pruning as well. He uses the analogy a number of times, especially in John 15, when he says: “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” (John 15:1-2, italics mine).
Thursday is September 30, which just happens to be Pete’s and my “engage-a-versary.” Yup, thirty-two years ago this week, my husband and I got engaged. It didn’t quite go like in the movies. In fact, we more or less got engaged that day by accident.
Mind you, we were already planning to get married. We’d been talking about it since spring. Pete had even formally proposed that summer—in a field of wildflowers on the slopes of Washington’s Mt. Rainier. We had then asked my best friend if she’d be my maid of honor, as she was moving out of state and I wanted to talk to her in person. But the engagement wasn’t official, and we hadn’t talked to anyone else.
Wanting to honor his parents, Pete called to ask them for their advice—what sorts of things should we be considering in making this very important decision? He particularly wanted to give his dad a chance to express his opinion. His dad was noted for having strong opinions when his offspring were considering marriage.
I have a friend who’s been pretty miserable lately. This is someone I care a lot about, and I’ve been praying for her daily. As sometimes happens when we pray for someone, I’ve gained some insight into her situation. Perhaps the Spirit told me directly, perhaps I simply recognized a situation that’s all too familiar. Either way, it’s clear to me that she’s running from God.
Mind you, my friend is a Bible-believing Christian. That’s not the issue. Rather, God has asked her for something that she’s unwilling to give Him. Never mind that it would greatly benefit her to do so. Never mind that God will take better care of it than she ever could. Giving up something that is a deep part of ourselves is never easy.