When we bought our house several years ago, we inherited a beautiful jasmine vine. The vine encompasses a space between our two garage doors which allows us to enjoy it on a regular basis. In the early summer the vine abounds with fragrant blooms that fill the air—one of God’s gifts of creation!
About a month ago, we were entering our home and happen to notice something was wrong with the jasmine vine. The once flourishing plant was half dead. Brown leaves were scattered up and down the vine. Blooms were gone. We couldn’t believe it. When did this happen? How could it happen so fast? It was puzzling and frankly, it made me a little sad. It was so pretty; now, it just wasn’t.
Fast forward a week or so.
As I finished my quiet time with the Lord one morning, I told God that I wanted to see Him in all things. I asked that He continue to reveal himself to me throughout my week. Little did I know he would use the jasmine vine to answer my prayer.
Later in the day, I walked outside and my eye was once again drawn to the vine. I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I knew I had to start pruning. As I got to work snipping the dead leaves, God was speaking to my heart. Of course, as you can imagine, my first thoughts went to the familiar verse, “I am the vine, you are the branches…apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). However, it didn’t stop there. More insights were revealed to me as I continued to prepare the vine for new growth.
See if you can relate to any of these.
Life is not always full of blooms! One moment we can be flourishing, and the next moment we can be struggling. Life can take a wrong turn, and parts of us seem to wither and die. Such changes can come suddenly, without warning.
The unproductive, defeating aspects of our lives need to be pruned. Allowing the “dead branches” to remain prevents new growth.
Recovery can be slow. For a while the vine will appear barren and frail. Yet, it is still alive. Dormant seasons are opportunities for maturation.
New growth yields beauty once again. We can trust that our seasons of barrenness will not endure.
As I contemplated these thoughts, I was drawn back to His Word. It wasn’t surprising to find many Scriptures of encouragement.
When we are no longer flourishing…
“The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time”. Psalms 34:19
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you... And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:6-7,10
When it’s time to prune….
"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2
When it’s time to mature….
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”
When we are changed…
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
As I think of the life of an educator, the unexpected changes inherent in our profession can leave us feeling barren and frail. However, like the jasmine plant, we can continue to grow through the season of pruning and begin to flourish once again.
Before finishing this blog, I walked outside to glance once more at the jasmine vine. You will never guess what I saw—two new baby blooms! God revealed himself once again.