I was startled awake with the same heart-slamming, adrenalin surge that left my arms and legs feeling empty of blood and tingling. It was the same routine I had experienced on so many occasions when Don was in the hospital and I lived at the hotel for the month. But this time, as I lay in the dark, I could feel the reassuring weight of my husband’s body next to me. His drawn-in brow told me he wasn’t sleeping soundly or as sweetly as I hoped. I could see pain etched in his expression as he tried to sleep. As I lay there with my heart pounding, I told myself to rest in Christ; reminding myself that the Lord was and is in control, and that His ways are good and worthy of blind trust and faith. He was in the midst of doing a mighty work and that we could trust the Father’s hand. He was faithful in the past, He is faithful in the present and will be faithful in our future. I knew I would need to find a way to work out the anxiety and worry trapped inside me. When the sun broke through the darkness of night, I headed for the garden. It was time anyway, I reminded myself…the roses needed trimming.
I have always loved gardening. It feels so elementally good; the sinking of gloved hands into the rich soil which was made by the Father’s own hands. The garden is where I feel closest to the Lord and where my prayers flow freely and often where I hear His voice the clearest. It’s not uncommon for me to be seen in the garden early in the morning while still in my jammies and robe. A cup of tea in one hand while I pull at some invading weed with the other hand. I love gardening but I have a special place in my heart for roses.
This morning, with pruning shears in my hands, I look up at the first of 25 roses I would prune…and the Lord began to speak to me. This proud bush had grown over six feet tall since last spring. It was covered with the proof of a vigorous and successful growing season. There were remaining roses that were spent as well as rose hips that spoke of the successful pollination of the bush. I’ve always believed roses are a lot like women themselves: precious as a bud and full of promise, lush and full of fragrance as a bloom, and full of mysteriously lasting beauty and purpose as a rose hip.
This bush had every reason to be proud. She was a beauty even now. It almost felt like a shame to cut it completely down, as over two-thirds of its height would be taken down by the time I finished and only a few strong stalks would be left. To the bush, it must seem like an indiscriminate hacking away, however, the gardener knows exactly what the bush needs and is faithful to cut exactly when and where necessary. You see, the bush will not thrive with old growth left. It needs to be cut away to make room for the fresh new work of that next season. To leave on old growth, flowers, or fruit would stunt the rose for future growth. The old growth served its purpose and the proof of all the growing seasons past are evidenced deep in the earth where the strong and established roots spread out in maturity. The gardener prunes at the exact time necessary; never too soon or too late. To prune too early would thrust the roses into a rest period that would encourage bloom right when the frost would hit it and blight the new growth. To prune too late would not allow the rose enough rest period before the longer days of spring arrive. The gardener knows the exact time when pruning will be in the best interest for the rose itself. His cutting away is done with a purpose and with the future of the rose in mind.
The gardener also knows exactly where to prune to make the cut. He looks very carefully for a crease and a swell along the thick cane of the rose and knows that a cut placed just on top of that swell will cultivate strong growth for the next season. Strong growth will sustain healthy blooms and vigorous fruit. During this time, the gardener will also cut away canes that are frail, diseased, weak, or crossing over other canes which will lead to poor form and a lack of air circulation.
As I stood back and looked at my work, the rose was now only two feet tall, however, the bush was perfectly prepared now for the next season and all the beauty and growth that lay ahead. It was then that I heard the Lord speak so clearly to me, “Trust in Me. I am the Vinedresser and I prune away only to reveal new growth and beauty. Just as you were faithful to care for this rose, I AM faithful to care for you.” And there, in the garden, I bowed down to worship.
By: Gina Krafft