Today I was asked a question by a young man who I am mentoring. He asked if we can know for sure when something difficult in our life is God’s way of pruning us, or is it simply a challenge because of our society or time of life or a real-estate market fluctuation? He was asking this specifically about the needed sale of a house being delayed and how this creates so much difficulty. My answer was yes and no. Yes in that pruning, for God could be asking us to release something such as a house that we hold dear, sometimes too dear, and He wants to free us up from this dependency on a material thing by not allowing an easy transition.
After all, the purpose of pruning is to relax our grip on something that we hold too tight and give it over to God and learn to trust Him more deeply. It could be a house, a job, a relationship, or even our reputation. The pain of pruning is not God’s end game. Rather it is the fruit in our life that comes from the trial or difficulty. Therefore, there could be a multitude of things that we hold too dear, and some could be so important to us that they have become an idol. This idol creates an obstacle between God and our self and God will prune us to remove this obstacle in our life and then bless us with something much greater. God’s pruning always leads to good because of what it will eventually produce in our life. But it still stings, and sometimes hurts.
But there are some times that are confusing, and this is when my answer becomes a no. It is not always pruning that we are experiencing. Sometimes God asking us to give something over to Him as in pruning, and we can see no apparent reasons for a delay or difficulty. This is when we should consider that God might be asking us to trust Him more deeply while we wait on Him to intervene. It is not pruning, but a test of our faith.
The difficulty is created by our own sense of timing or economy of resources. After all, who wants to have double payments on two houses? But God has a bigger reason for asking you to trust Him, and it will be better than you would have imagined. Therefore, if you can lean into Him more deeply in those times of waiting, He will get you through your difficulty and this is where you get your wings.
Oh yes….God is making of you a disciple who will one day be able to soar over your difficulties. Whether it is pruning or simply waiting on God, let Him have His way with you by trusting Him more deeply, for He knows what he is doing.