The following blog is from my upcoming book, Images.

            Learning how to prune roses is very painful and not just from getting stuck by a thorn.

            As a beginning gardener, I struggled with the idea of pruning. There is that beautiful plant, growing in the sunlight and – according to the experts – the careful gardener has to come along and cut part of it off. For no apparent reason that anyone can see.

            Then I learned the method and reasons behind pruning roses.

Old, dead branches are removed completely from a rose bush. If the gardener is not sure that a branch is dead, he begins pruning a bit of the branch at a time, looking for the light green pith inside the branch. If there is none, the branch is removed completely. Branches that cross over the center of the bush are cut off in order to allow more oxygen to reach the center of the plant. Dead blossoms are removed and the stem trimmed down to the point where the new growth will come out; this cut is angled away from the center of the plant, to train the rose to grow in the proper direction. All cuts are sealed with glue in order to protect the flower from disease and infestation. When this is done, the flower will send nourishment to the point of pruning and the flower will grow healthy and vigorous, produce abundant blooms.

            Just like the Lord when He prunes me. There I am, growing in the Son’s light and He comes along to prune me. Yes, it is a cut, and yes it does hurt. But, He is careful to trim back deadweight to where He knows new life is about to come forth. He opens me up to allow more of the Spirit to breathe into my life. And He always seals me with the Holy Spirit, to protect me and allow more of His breath to blow through me. So, I can be stronger in Him and bloom.