John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”

Have you ever watched a master viticulturist prune the vines in their vineyard? Every vine has fruitful and unfruitful branches. Both have to be pruned for good healthy fruit to grow the next season. The unfruitful branches can block a fruitful branch from receiving valuable resources, such as sunlight and water. However, the fruitful branch from the last season has been weakened by the fruit it has produced. If it is not cut back to a short spur with only two to four buds, then it has a higher chance of being damaged by frost, and the weakened wood will be unable to sustain sufficient growth.

The Lord is telling his disciples in John 15:1-2 that being a fruitful branch is important, but in order to be fruitful, pruning has to happen. We will all go through the pruning process, and it can be painful. We all love the fruitful seasons, the seasons of plenty, and the seasons of victory. Surely nobody likes the pruning seasons of our lives. the seasons of barrenness, and the seasons of patience.

I don’t like going through hard times, and I don’t like admitting I need some work. I want to believe that I can stay on the mountain top of victory, but in truth, if I stay on the mountain, there is no growth. Where there is no growth, there is no new fruit. When there is no new fruit, the husbandman cuts out the fruitless branch. The difference between the fruitful branch and the unfruitful branch isn’t that they won’t both be pruned in season, it’s that one will have another fruitful season and one will not.

          Don’t be afraid of the pruning seasons of your life. The Husbandman knows when to start pruning, and he knows just where to cut to ensure another fruitful season comes. He isn’t pruning you to hurt you, nor is he trying to punish you. He isn’t mad at you, you haven’t done anything wrong. He is pruning the branches to protect them from a dangerous, cold, and frosty season.  Pruning is an act of love on the part of the husbandman.

           Lord, help me to not be discouraged during a season of unfruitfulness. Help me to see the seasons in between fruitfulness as gifts from a loved one. As a branch, I don’t know when the winters of my life are coming, but You as the husbandman know when it is time for every season. Help me to trust Your timing, and to have faith in Your love for me. Lead me, Lord, from victory to victory. Help me to understand that to have victory, there must first be a fight.

There is always a space of time between battles where preparation and training need to take place. The pruning season is the space of time between battles. It is where I learn how to win the next battle. The pruning season is not the end of the fruitful season. It is the beginning of a next fruitful season!

          Anthony Yanney