- The Pruning Principle
- God Answers Prayer By Pruning Jesus Disciples
In some ways there is a danger in telling stories of miraculous deliverance. For example, right before getting married I had major knee surgery. Just a few months after our wedding, right at Christmas, we got a bill for twenty thousand dollars. At that time we served as missionaries and in effect had no insurance. My normal reaction was to stuff my negative feelings in a drawer, do nothing, and pretend it will all go away.
But now with a wife I was asked to grow up, trust God, and live differently. All that is much easier when your spouse is like mine, and dynamo for Jesus.
So we prayed, called the doctor, who then quickly said, “Mr. Soto, I made enough money this year, the bill has been paid, have a Merry Christmas.”
I was in such disbelief that I asked the doctor’s office to put it writing and send me a bill with a cancelled stamp on it and doctor’s signature, and they did!
So why is such a story sometimes not a good story to tell, and how does it relate to pruning?
God does not always do miracles by zapping his children out of their problems, often he gives them supernatural power for self control, so that their bad habits are not longer the kind of things that cause them to stumble and fall, in other words, he prunes them so they will grow up and grow strong.
Problems are not always nightmares, some are merely obstacles, and obstacles play a huge role in how God works, because obstacles in principle are the GPS of discipleship, the place where God teaches you that you can in fact trust in his guidance.
For Jesus followers, the obstacle is the way forward into God’s glory, and into living for a greater story.
There is a bit of a triad to arrogance pruning. God takes us from arrogance, exposes our weakness, and leads into overcoming. Arrogance is pride, and both arrogance and pride are covering up hurt, offense and weakness with an Adam and Eve type fig leaf, which never works.
Jesus at Gethsemane was looking up at the Temple, and needed to get to the other side where Golgotha was waiting for him. Yet the other side was not the end of the story. The final account is takes place when Joseph and Nicodemus take Jesus’ body and place it in a sealed tomb. Someone taken down from the cross was thrown into the off the side of the cliff, but so with Jesus.
Waiting for Jesus, and for all us, was a third day promised resurrection. Jesus got there by saying in Gethsemane, “Father you will not my will be done.”