I just spent 2 hours out working in my garden yesterday evening. Had a good talk with our 9-year-old about the meaning of the word "prune". He was so cute, talking about when he got baptized earlier this year his feet got all "pruney" from being in the water. grin emoticon But we did get down to the fact that Jesus must clean/prune us continually to bring us into the shape of His will, just like we were doing to our roses.
I was pretty hard on my plants, leaving only about 6 healthy blooms and a bunch of buds behind (on a total of about 18 rose bushes!) so it looks pretty stark right now. But each cut was made with care and purpose, knowing that by my birthday at the end of the month, I will have a glorious garden full of healthy blossoms, all on nicely trimmed and shaped plants!
I take comfort from my parent's story as newly weds. They had several rose bushes under the kitchen window. Mom was having horrid allergies, so Dad went out and brutally shopped them all nearly down to the roots to try to kill them. They came back healthier and prettier than before! So when the devil sets out to destroy me, God can intend the same season of harsh pruning for my benefit.