Saturday, April 15, 2006

Pruning

I finished most of the pruning today. There are a couple trees on the other side of the crick, and up near the road. All the trees that we got good apples from last fall are done, though.

If those trees could feel pain, they would be screaming. I pruned some of them way too much. My favorite tree, however, is in good shape. I cut off all of the branches that go way up, but left an excessive amount of lower branches; even some that are crossed (but not rubbing). That tree will get more pruning next fall or spring, after the remaining branches have started to grow out.

Unless I managed to shock some of the trees, they should all start to grow very vigorously as soon as they leaf out. Pruning does that. The roots contain enough nutrients to start the entire tree growing, and all that sap will be going to the remaining limbs. I expect lots of water sprouts (shoots that go straight up from the top of the tree, and are generally trimmed very soon). I will let them stay there for at least this entire year because the trees will need plenty of leaves to soak up that good sunlight and make food (and apples!) for the tree.

God prunes us, too. He is divine, and we are de branches. ;-) (If this goes over your head, read John 15:5)

All joking aside, we branches have branches, and sometimes they need pruning. Pruning promotes growth, and forces the energy into the right path. When we put too much energy in things that are useless, we are wasting our lives. If we get stubborn about it, the merciful thing for God is to prune off those wayward shoots. Sure, it hurts; but it's better than the alternative. God never promised us a pain-free life, anyhow. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact.

If those trees in our front pasture had been taken care of over the past years, they would be in good shape now. They would not have needed the severe pruning that I dealt to them.

But, they were neglected. In fact, it appears that they have never been pruned in their entire lives.

I chose to do a severe pruning. The trees will be shocked, but they will grow vigorously. I will probably use a slower method for the other trees. I'll only cut off the most wayward limbs this year, and do the same for the next few years.

Both methods work. Do a really severe pruning once, followed by much lighter prunings, or do a relatively severe pruning three or four years in a row. There are advantages to either method.

Of course, the best method is to lightly prune every year from the beginning. If you have the tree from the time it's a sapling, you can do that. Let it go, though, and you have to severely prune. Once it's pruned, however, you can go back to using a lighter touch.

Similarly, God can care for us in many ways. Unlike my clumsy attempts, he knows exactly what to do. He gives us free will -- lets us somewhat choose our method. If we decide to turn away for a number of years, the pruning will be severe once we turn back. Or, if a Christian turns away for life, the end will be less than happy. We'll still be saved, but as through fire (1Corinthians 3:15).

So, what will it be? How much will you cringe from the loving touch of Him?

I, myself, have been pruned severely a few times. It still continues to happen, but the blessings are great. Moving my family out to the country has been a dream come true. Along the way, even in the worst of times, His comfort has been there. Just like those children's books where you know that the hero will come out alive and victorious, we know the end of the story. We don't know the details, but we know that victory is ours for the asking.

And now, this Easter, we are celebrating that victory. All that pruning is moving us toward perfection.



2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

sarah is a red head like my sarah..
only she is 7 year old girl.
will print. sarah is pony mad and will think this is the best thing ever.
L

4:36 AM  
Blogger Nerd in the Country said...

It's my understanding that all little girls are pony mad. If you want, I can use one of the pictures to make a desktop for her.

9:16 PM  

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