From desolation, comes new growth. Ever seen a vineyard after the harvest, just after all the vines have been pruned back? It’s a sure sign winter is coming. The entire field looks desolate. No greenery, all the fruit has been picked and sent to market or been pressed into wine. The same goes with how our Lord prunes us back. Sometimes He has to cut us all the way back to the spur, in order for a new shoot to emerge in the spring. What He is doing is removing everything in our souls that do not belong there in the first place. Causing the survival instinct to kick in (Fear of the Lord), and grow again, in a different way. A way which will produce the fruit, or good works, which we were intended to produce. Although it seems painful as we go through the dryness, God always assures us, he is in the field, constantly watching and nurturing his little plants.
Throughout the winter, the soul looks at what it used to be and realizes it no longer is that fruitless plant. It is only a pruned stick, but alive, as it is still attached even in the smallest amount, to the true vine.This is repentance. It does not cry for what it was, but rather looks to the spring to bud anew. Desolation in great or small amounts, is not a death sentence from God but rather His tender loving hand, forming the now tiny branch to do what it was intended to do. To grow where He needs it to grow rather than still a wild vine trying to choke out the branches that do produce the sweetest fruit.
‘I am the true vine,
and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit
he cuts away,
and every branch that does bear fruit
he prunes to make it bear even more.
You are pruned already,
by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,
but must remain part of the vine,
neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine,
you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me, with me in him,
bears fruit in plenty;
for cut off from me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers;
these branches are collected and thrown on the fire,
and they are burnt.
If you remain in me
and my words remain in you,
you may ask what you will
and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit,
and then you will be my disciples.’