In Matthew 12:20 and Isaiah 43:3 it reads, "A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice." The last few summers before the summer of 2016 were extremely hard on all kinds of plants and animals (not excluding humans :) ). They were visibly under distress. We have a huge weeping mulberry tree in our front yard. What started out being a wonderful object of beauty for our home's curb appeal slowly turned into a tree that was out of control. If any of you are familiar with weeping mulberry trees, they yearly add curved shoots from existing branches and these shoots can go in almost any direction. No longer could visitors comfortably use our sidewalk to our front door; the front yard ceased to exist, being taken over by huge off-shoots of the branches. It clearly needed pruning - there was just one problem. With extreme heat and no moisture, the tree was already under duress...any added blows to it would probably end up killing the tree. We were forced to let the tree go ahead and "have its own way" during that time, knowing that there would come a time that the problem would still have to be dealt with. Then came last summer...lots of moisture, cooler weather, perfect growing conditions to give the tree an opportunity to become firmly established once more. Now it was time to do the pruning that was needed for the past three years. It wasn't that we could ignore the issue - it was simply that we had to wait for the tree to become strong enough to embrace the necessary pruning. It would still hurt; the tree would bear the ugly marks all winter; it would not be a thing of beauty for our yard - instead it would take away from what we would consider a perfect landscape. But the next spring (2017) it would once again begin to bring forth its shoots, now controlled by the painful pruning, and hopefully by fall...or maybe even in a year or two...it will be that beautiful tree we have come to love.
The parallel is evident. There are times in our lives that God knows we are so weak that we cannot bear the extreme pruning that is necessary in our lives...so we continue to grow and produce off-shoots that we think are beautiful - but they simply begin to take over our lives and create something that was never meant to be. When we are that "bruised reed" or "smoldering wick", God's mercy is there...but in faithfulness He will bring forth justice. When we are ready...at just the right time...the pruning will come - sometimes it will take extreme pruning as our mulberry tree needs right now...but the end result is that we will be a beautiful object of His glory. That truly is our goal so when the pruning comes, think of the spring that is coming...and rejoice.
MORE THINGS TO LEARN: After the workers finished pruning the tree the main worker showed me places on the tree trunk where the sun had not been allowed to reach (interesting parallel). The moisture (which I'm sure felt good to the tree) was actually rotting places that could eventually cause the tree to die. Had the tree been allowed to continue as it was, even though it looked like it was flourishing, it would have eventually caused its own death... interesting parallel when we are left to our own ways. He also told me that the trunk was actually too small to support the heavy branches. A windstorm or an ice storm would have eventually broken the branches, possibly to the point of no repair... sometimes we get so busy "producing branches and leaves" that we don't notice we have become top heavy (leaning on our own understanding instead of humbling ourselves and allowing God to search our hearts and lead us down right and safe paths)...then when the storm comes, we become broken. As you can see, the tree now looks much smaller but much more in proportion for size of our home and yard...and I'm a little wiser about my own path and my own branches.