Pruning is Painful
Monday, November 12, 2018
“I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon
I was counseling someone the other day – via text messaging, believe it or not – who is going through some very serious emotional, physical and spiritual trials. Part of my advice to him was to simply share my own testimony of similar “valley experiences.”
The first happened in 1981, just as I was about to graduate from college. The girl I was planning to marry dumped me and after graduation, I couldn’t find a full-time job anywhere. The ensuing 10 months were a true low point in my life… and one that I would never want to repeat.
A second period of brokenness occurred in 2010-2012. Burned out from the pressures – financial and otherwise – of running a prison ministry for 24 years, I compounded matters by also running for the U.S. House of Representatives…twice in three years. And, oh yeah, I wrote three books at the same time that I was knocking on 10,000 doors each election cycle. Lest I forget, two of my spiritual mentors died almost simultaneously and so did my best friend from childhood.
Frankly, the 22 months between June 2010 and March 2012 are a bit of a blur. Racing to the finish line of my second congressional campaign…resigning from my prison ministry…relocating to Florida…starting a new ministry from scratch…and living on a gross annual income of $18,000. Wow! In hindsight, it’s amazing that my family and I survived such a storm.
But that’s exactly the point I wanted to make with the young man I was counseling. By God’s grace, we DID survive; and came out of each trial with a stronger faith in Him and a deeper empathy towards others. In other words, God used the trials in 1981 to call me into full-time ministry and the ones in 2010-2012 to refine me yet again.
Trials teach us many things. One is to trust in God and rely on Him only. The other is that, with His help, we are more resilient than we think.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2 (NKJV)
- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President