Today’s Gospel: Luke 13:1-9
It’s all too easy to think about how much better I am than “those” people. You know the ones, don’t you? The people who aren’t as smart, who don’t take care of things, whose kids act up.
Oh wait. I am one of “those” people!
Sometimes, I’m tempted to see others’ misfortune as their fault somehow. And then I think of one of my closest friends who buried two babies. When I met her it was slightly before the pregnancy that led to the burial of the second baby. This person, who I’ll call Sally, is one of the most joyful baby people I know. She thrives on babies and is the sort of person who leaps across the room to snuggle them. It is a joy for me to have a baby just to watch her enjoyment of them.
So watching her family as they buried this baby was harrowing. At the time, I couldn’t have ever called it a blessing. And yet, about two years ago, Sally told me that she has seen more good come from that tragedy than she could have expected. “If my story changes a heart,” she said, “then I’m glad God can use me.”
I’m a gardener of the lazy variety. Some years I do prune and cut back my plants in the fall. And when I do, I am always glad in the spring. When I don’t, I have a mess.
I think that when God “prunes” us, it hurts. It’s often confusing. And sometimes, it’s not God at all, as today’s Gospel points out. Sometimes bad things happen. God doesn’t cause them. Ever.
But, if we let him, he can bring good from them. If we let ourselves grow, he can help us blossom past the tears.
How can I turn a time of heartache into a time of growth? In what ways can I lean into God’s arms and let him hold me through the pruning?
Lord, thank you for the gift of my life, painful and challenging as it is. Guide me closer to you and help me to never lose sight of the fact that you always know what’s best for me. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Sarah Reinhard