thorns on a branch

photo by Julian Paolo Dayag on Unsplash

 “Be careful of the thorns!” My heart pounded as my seven-year-old granddaughter darted past the overgrown bush near our fence. Determined to escape her older sister’s teasing, she dashed around the corner of the house and down the rocky side yard. The bright pink flowers on the Bougainvillea hid the sharp thorns, and I knew it was only a matter of time before one of our granddaughters screamed in pain; a thorn piercing their tender skin. After some coaxing, my granddaughter re-entered the backyard, her dusty cheeks stained with tears, but unharmed from the thorns.

Later that week, lamenting the loss of the bright flowers but relieved to rid our yard of the dangerous thorns, I hacked away with my shears, cutting the bush down to the root. No more flowers—no more thorns.

The spiritual journey, for me, means allowing God to remove the thorns in my soul and spirit that harm others. I want God to prune all that does not reflect His nature. As I picked up the debris, I remembered the words from John 15:2. “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

Blood dripped from my finger as the thorn stabbed through my gloves. Ouch! The damage was clear as my green garden glove turned red.

How often have I allowed my words and actions in a moment of impatience or irritation to harm others? How often have I hidden my thorny self beneath pretty flowers? God still has much work to do in me!  

Author Brennan Manning says in The Signature of Jesus “To be like Christ is to be a Christian.” Lord, I pray I can withstand your pruning. I pray that as you cut away the thorns of my false self, You make me more like You. And Lord, before I point out the thorns in others, remove the thorns in me.  Amen!   

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