Grace Revue: Grace Prunes for Potential

"Gardener's Paradise," © 2016 Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

“Gardener’s Paradise,” © 2016 Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” ~James 1:2-4

© 2016 Lynn Abbott

Every gardener knows that pruning is necessary for a garden to reach its full potential.

To be honest, I hate the pruning shears. Yet, I have to admit that training sure beats the alternative.

I know this because in the Old Testament I read about a saint who never fully yielded to discipline.   He did not allow Abba, the Master Gardener, to train or shape beauty from his life. He possessed incredible potential.  But he failed miserably.

His gift is legendary.  His name?  Samson.

Certainly, most of us know his story well.  Abba chose Samson from before birth to become one of the long line of Israel’s judges. As a judge, Samson was called to lead and deliver his people from their enemies.

Problem is that Samson did not persevere in his walk of faith.  He began well and then, fizzled. Over and over again, Sampson used his gift to promote his own agenda rather than God’s. And so, despite his tremendous promise, Samson ultimately failed.

Had Samson allowed God to work in his life, nothing would have encumbered or held Samson back.  However, he did not submit to God’s training. When it was time to prune, Samson balked.

Thus, rather than persevering in faith, Samson lived for himself.  In regard to his faith, he dabbled rather than delved.

As God had promised, Samson began the race (Judges 13:5).  Yet, the strong man barely crossed the finish line.

Indeed, God allowed Samson to go his own way, and Samson paid the price.

And while his story ends with a heroic stand for God and Israel, Samson’s overall life fell short of its early promise. For the most part, his was a life of lost potential.

For this reason, when I am tempted to resent God’s paring process, I have only to think of Samson, and suddenly, I am thankful for the Master Gardener’s merciful and gracious shears.

Yeah…I may not like pruning, but I am thankful that such Grace prepares my soul for the beautiful future our Heavenly Father has in store for you and me.