I have, sitting in one of my dining room windows, a lovely begonia. Years ago my Grandmommy taught me how to care for flowers such as this. In order to propagate a begonia, some of the stems need to be cut at just the right spot and simply put into a glass of water. As the days pass, roots will grow, and eventually be strong enough to support the new plant in a pot of dirt. One must wait patiently though; planted too soon the roots don't have enough structure to deliver the needed nutrients to an entire plant. They may only be able to support a small bit, but the rest will wither and die from lack of nourishment. But if one waits patiently, re-watering the rooting stem and watching them grow strong before planting it, the reward will be a vibrant, healthy, beautiful plant which will draw from the soil the nutrients needed to support its whole self, delighting the eyes and bringing pleasure to all who behold it.
And what of the original plant from which the cutting was taken? If the cutting was well chosen, cut at just the right place, a new stem will grow. The original plant will grow fuller, with new, waxy green leaves to fill in where the plant was lacking. In fact, for the health of a begonia, cuttings must regularly be taken in order to maintain its fullness and healthy growth. From the new growth lovely delicate blossoms will sprout, colorful and full of promise.
God's word tells us metaphorically that we too need to be pruned in order to grow strong and healthy. As His children, we are branches of the true vine, our Lord Jesus Christ. Left to ourselves, our growth would be in directions unwise and unprofitable to our lives in Christ. But as the Father gently prunes away the bad growth, cutting judiciously in just the right place, our remaining branches grow stronger, nurtured by His Spirit and His Word. Though the pruning is painful, God, in His mercy and love, applies the balm which alone can bring healing. And though there are branches which must be pruned, they did not grow unnoticed by the Father. They were allowed for a time before the pruning for purposes that only He can see. So, while their absence is necessary, their temporary presence was also necessary. We see in their absence just how detrimental they were, and in recognition of his wisdom, turn to the Father with new growth in gratitude and love- as a flower turns to the warmth of the sun.
So, roots planted firmly and deeply in the soil of God's Word, taking daily nourishment and patiently abiding in His love, may we not fear the pruning hook, but always, in gratitude and faith, look to Him who directs our growth. Praise be to God.