“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener.” John 15:1
Some years ago, I was called to an emergency at the home of a church family. When I knocked, no one came to the door. There was only a shout, “Come in!” I did and was greeted by a horrible sight. The mother was holding her child while the father was slapping the little girl’s face. Not so hard as to leave any bruises, but hard enough that I winced. Along with the slapping, they kept shouting at their little girl and every once in a while, they gave her a painful pinch. Child abuse? Even though I knew the family, I thought so.
It wasn’t. The little girl had swallowed some pills—too many pills. “Until the ambulance arrives,” the parents had been told, “keep her awake. Do whatever is necessary to keep her awake.” The picture of horror was transformed to an exhibition of love. Not to hurt, but to help, was the motivation of parents.
It’s God’s motivation in your life as well. Sooner or later we will all feel the slap and pinch of our heavenly Father. Please know, and it is absolutely certain, God doesn’t hate you. He loves you, and what you are experiencing is being done for your best.
If you don’t know Jesus as Savior, the Lord knows that you’re not smart enough, strong enough, fast enough, or holy enough to get to heaven on your own. In His love, God wants you to know you have been redeemed and can have the joy, the peace, the hope, the happiness, and the future that comes from a living connection with Jesus. If God’s pruning is hurting, now is the day and hour of salvation. See God’s hands reaching out to you in love.
If you are a Christian, you believe that Jesus has washed you from your sins. If you do, you may be especially perplexed as to why God is pruning you. “Why do bad things happen to good people—or a good person—like me?”
Let me ask, “Have you ever taken a child to the doctor for a shot?” Did you do so because you hated your child? Of course not. You did what you did out of love. Your child saw pain; you saw purpose. Now if we human parents act for our children’s best interest, can we doubt that God would do any less? A loving Lord, who cares for us and sent His Son to save us, will always do what is best for His children. In love, He will always do what needs to be done.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on May 18, 2003
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being a loving parent. I feel blessed to be one of Your children. Help me to share the joyous news of Your love. Amen.
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