God can speak to us through anything. I was recently pushing kids on the swings: “Higher! Higher!” they shouted. But I noticed that the higher they went, the more the nearby tree branch would get in their faces. So I broke off a few branches to make more room, knowing it ultimately wouldn’t damage the tree.
Scripture calls us “trees of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:3). Most often it’s difficult and even painful to submit to pruning. But if our pruning allows others to go higher and makes us more fruitful….it’s really not so bad after-all; in fact, perhaps it can be called a “double honor.”
American cultures says “it’s about you” and “your way.” But the Word teaches us that there is only ONE way…and His name is Jesus. And He came, not to be served, but to SERVE. And so it is with us. When we find ourselves wacking others in the face with our branches and leaves, let us not admonish them for swinging too high. Instead, let’s get out of the way! Go higher, child of God, go higher! You see, not only is there a joy we receive for enabling the growth of others, but this act of dying to self is what we need as well! And it is what builds our history with Jesus; it’s what readies us for increase and fulfillment of purpose!
I’m reminded of Song of Solomon where the bride has 3 stages of maturity. First, she says “My Beloved is mine and I am His.” (Song of Solomon 2:16 NKJV) She, in the beginning stages of her betrothal, feels the need to possess Him first in order to get Him to do what she thinks He should. Isn’t that like us?! The bride goes through some trials (some prunings, if you will!) and comes to her next stage of maturity: “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” (Song of Solomon 6:3 NKJV) At this stage, she switches the order and leads by saying she is His first…but she still tries to possess Him. Ok, we are learning here!! Ahh, but when she arrives at her final stage of maturity, she no longer finds the need to possess Him. Why?? She has learned to trust Him through it all! She learns that He is for her:
“I am my Beloved’s, And His desire is toward me.” (Song of Solomon 7:10 NKJV)
I sometimes find myself oscillating between the second and third stages of maturity. Do I really trust Him fully when I am being pruned? When making room for others hurts me, do I really believe His desire is for me? I’m beginning to say “yes” to those questions.
I’ve been through a lot in my life, including an intestinal disease I was supposed to live with my whole life! After years of suffering, I am walking in healing, praise the LORD! During suffering, trials and hurts, it’s ok to be real with God. It’s ok to ask questions. I have pressed down on the Word and it has held up! He has been faithful through it all. And He has never forsaken me, glory to God!
I encourage you (and myself!) to commit to the growing and the purification process of the LORD. Let’s be His serving leaders who want to see others go higher! And because of our obedience and commitment to die to self, let us walk in this double honor!
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Romans 8:18 NKJV