In my last entry, we stood on God's Presence as a solid reason for Hope. Obviously, God becoming Incarnate in the Person of Jesus Christ is a magnificent display of God's Presence. Emmanuel, a title given to Christ, literally means "God with Us!" He's with us! And because He's with us, we have hope. But His presence isn't always pleasant. Sometimes God loves us so much He hurts us. The great Bible Teacher, Warren Wiersbe, says God will hurt His own, but He will not harm his own. What does that mean? Well, when Christmas tree farmers grow their trees for the season, they often have to prune them. In other words, they cut off diseased or unnecessary branches in order to grow healthier trees. Sometimes God prunes us.
Listen, God doesn’t just give us His presence and make promises in order to give us a free pass to be stupid and lazy. Hope requires disciplined cooperation with Him. That’s called pruning.
Dr. Rick Warren says the following:
“Pruning involves cutting off not only dead branches but also living ones as well in order to improve the shape of the plant and stimulate growth. Pruning is essential for increased productivity. It’s not optional . . . If you’re going to be productive . . . God will put you through times of pruning. God prunes you for fruitfulness . . . You might struggle to understand why, but the reason is He is preparing you for even greater ministry.”
Jesus says in John 15:2:
"He also prunes every branch that does produce fruit to make it produce more fruit." John 15:2 (GW)
Christmas (or any other season for that matter) can be a time of pruning. So if you’re struggling with hopelessness this season, remember God’s Promises, trust in God’s Presence, and submit to God’s Pruning and you will find hope really does have its reasons! God will produce fruit in your life.