by Kristen Narara
“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 15:1-2
I often hear these verses and tend to focus so much on finding evidence of faith (fruit) and fail to acknowledge the pruning process through which God takes us so that we may bear that fruit.
Countless times over the past 12 months I have prayed that God would grow my fruits of faith. More recently I have pleaded with the Lord that he would help me to know Christ better, that he would help me cling to Christ alone and abide in him.
And by God’s grace he is answering my prayers!
It just didn’t come in the way I expected.
God is pruning me…
A number of months ago, my husband accepted a new job in a neighbouring city and he finally started this week. When he first signed the contract we were advised of the strong possibility that we would have to move. This week it was confirmed.
I’ve noticed that I usually tell of God’s great sovereignty in my life in retrospect of a major life change, like moving countries or cities or having a baby, but rarely when I am in the midst of it.
When I am in the midst of change – or merely anticipating change – I could confidently describe myself as “stiff-necked” like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. Except in my case, my desert has A/C J.
My groaning in response to this prospective move has sounded a little like this: “But we have an amazing church here. What about all of our friends? But I need these people. Why? Why? Why?!?!”
I am sad to say that over the past months I have been obsessed with this issue. Instead of trusting God’s sovereignty, I have resisted His leading and failed to see His purposes in pruning us in this way.
I’ve passed through the usual phases of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (kind of).
The anger phase involved me angrily complaining to my husband (an airline pilot) how unfair it would be to move me to a strange new city while he’s flying to Paris and Rome.
In the bargaining phase I thought of all the possible ways we might be able to stay in our current home and convince the company what a terrible idea it would be for us to move.
And in my semi-acceptance phase, I have spent countless hours on Pinterest and real estate websites trying to convince myself that this potential move is all about upgrading our home and getting a chance to use my decorating skills.
At the end of the day, I have believed the lie that Satan told Adam and Eve in the Garden – God doesn’t really love you. You can do better. You know what you need and it’s better than what he has to offer. How easily I am convinced that my comfort, status, lifestyle, friends, and yes, even being a member of “my” church can satisfy my soul.
I want to abide in Christ while the Father prunes me in order that I may bear much fruit for His glory.
So while we hunt for our new apartment, I need to remember that my biggest problem is not that our bed won’t fit in our new bedroom, or that there is next to no storage space, nor that the living room is not as big as we are used to. The impact of these issues pale in comparison to the great work that God is doing in my heart.
What is greater than moving house is the fact that God moved heaven and earth to give me a Saviour, to draw me – a hopeless sinner – and make me his precious child. And if moving house is what is going to make more like Jesus and advance his Kingdom, then I say (humbled and weak though I may be): “I trust you, Lord. Start pruning.”
ABOUT THE WRITER
Kristen was born in Papua New Guinea and grew up in Australia. Kristen is a member of ECC Off-Island Church in Abu Dhabi along with her husband, Nigel (aka Captain Nigel), who is an airline pilot. They have one son, Kingston. Kristen is well known for her outstanding baking skills and hospitality, and can turn any stranger into her friend for life.