At the edge of my driveway stands a row of lilac bushes. I’ve been watching the blossoms develop, waiting for the day when I could take a good photo. Finally, the day arrived. The blossoms were almost in full bloom and the sky was overcast—perfect for taking a picture. I grabbed my camera and headed out the door. I was not pleased with the first few photos that I took. This is one of them:
New lilac blossoms are barely visible. They’re hidden behind dead branches and dried stems of previous year’s blossoms.
I put down my camera, took my branch cutter off its hook in the garage and sniped off last year’s dried stems and dead branches. Then, I took a few more photos. This is one that I like:
The dead branch has been cut off and the beautiful new blossom is visible.
Last year, one of my friends told me that if I wanted to have lots of lilac blossoms every year, I must cut off the stems of each year’s blossoms as soon as they quit blooming. Well, I didn’t bother doing it. I don’t know why I would want to hang on to an old, dead branch. It’s never going to bloom again. Still, I hated to snip it off.
I thought about my life. What “branch” that once produced fragrant and beautiful flowers in my life is now unneeded, dead, and must be trimmed off? As I hesitate pruning my lilac bushes, so I reluctantly prune the unneeded “branches” in my life.
Each season, God has new gifts of grace. In order to make room for them, I need let go of the old, familiar, comfortable things. Maybe I don’t recognize them as dead branches. I remember the joy that they brought me and try to revive or resurrect what I was given in the past. What happens if I don’t cut off the dead branches? They distract me from seeing the new growth that God wants to produce in my life.
Jesus knows we are reluctant to give up the old. He said,”No one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say” (Luke 5:39 NLT).
Yet, I can’t have any passion for the new thing that God wants to develop in my life unless I give up that old thing.
Questions for your reflection
What new (blossom) dream or vision has God given to me?
What once beautiful but now unneeded or dead branch must I prune from my life in order to pursue it?
What choice will I make? Keep the dead branch or cut it off?