Are there broken branches in your life preventing new growth in faith?

Are there broken branches in your life preventing new growth in faith?

I crossed the threshold of the country road — that place where pavement meets gravel and dirt. Several hemlocks grew on the slope just to the right of the road. They were old. Tall. Bountiful. But here and there branches bared themselves and the lush of its evergreen faded.

Beneath the massive trees lay several broken, dead branches — victims of the storm from the day before. I stood and considered the carnage littering the ground. Did the branches grip the tree trunk defiantly when the storm winds blew? Did they fall away easily, fully complacent about their plight? Or were they caught of guard, oblivious to the approaching storm?

And even more important, did the beautiful evergreen sway in the rhythm of the wind, completely surrendered as the storm did its work to rid the tree of dead baggage that forbade new growth?

Hmmm … I wonder.

I wonder how I respond to the storm that howls through my life from time to time. Am I complacent? Defiant? Oblivious?

Or do I embrace the work of the Father’s love and allow Him to use life’s storms to rid me of debilitating baggage as I surrender to His will and way?

I’m learning to recognize the Lord in the midst of storms — trials, heartaches, difficult places. And the more I recognize Him, the more I learn about Him. The more I learn about Him, the more I trust and relinquish dead baggage that might be hanging around — baggage like anger, unforgiveness, unanswered questions.

Blue tugged on his leash, beckoning me to continue our walk. As we turned to head home the Lord gave me a glimpse of the broken, dead baggage that no longer interfered with my spiritual growth. Anger and unbearable sorrow lay shattered around me as they fell from my heart. In the most difficult storm of all, His mighty rushing wind had freed me from their grip that tangled and prevented new growth in my faith journey.

We cleared the pine grove canopy and a beam of sunlight bathed me in warmth. A stiff breeze kicked up. I lifted my head toward heaven and let the wind blow across my face. “Breathe on me, O Breath of God. Breathe on me and make all things new,” I proclaimed to the One who loves me.

My heart filled with praise and I began to sing to the Lord a new song.

A song of His perfect Redemption.

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” ~ John 15:1-4, NLT