Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces much grain. John 12:24
The flowers rested as the gentle mist fell upon their faces. Within the garden they knew they were the most prized within all of His garden. Many times He would gently take care of them to ensure they would grow to be even more beautiful than before. Each plant rested in complete peace, for they knew that the Gardener would always take such great care of them. As His care for them grew, so the flowers love grew more for their the Gardener. They could often be heard telling tales to one another of the Gardeners gentle ways, His love for them but the most treasured and shared tale of all was how He had saved each one of them from the drought, as he refreshed each of them with His springs of living water. The dream of each flower, shrub or tree within the garden was to be like the Gardener and hopefully bring life and love to others who are suffering, as they once were.
The plants of the garden trusted the Gardener deeply, and their hearts would leap for joy as they heard His footfalls approaching. Today, they noticed something was different about the Gardener. His face, which usually radiated a serine calm and love, was today etched with concern and determination. Although somewhat perplexed by the Gardeners unusual demeanour, they knew that they could trust Him, for His ways were always gentle and kind. Any apprehension immediately gave way to calm as they felt the reassurance of the Gardeners strong hands lift their leaves from the soil. Quickly, and without warning the Gardener pulled his pruning shears from his belt and set about pruning each of His beloved plants. He circled the young saplings as a jungle cat circles its prey. The garden plants could not understand why He was treating them so. With His old pruners in one hand, He set about the task of expertly pruning each of them. Their astonished cry’s seemed to be ignored, as He wrapped the blades around their stems and squeezed. They would try to resist His shears to no avail, as the blades would get stuck half way through a stem. Frustrated, He wiggled the pruners until the branch gave way exposing the raw wood beneath the bark. He continued, seemingly without mercy till his task was completed, leaving each plant with barely more than their roots in the ground.
During a brief period of respite, the plants caught their breath and with pain in their voices they collectively cried out. “Why, why have you done this to us, we thought that you loved us, have we displeased you in some way, is that why you’re punishing us like this?” The Gardener knelt down on one knee, and when he looked up to His friends, his face once again radiated a peace that passes all understanding. “Oh My precious ones, don’t you realize that within all My garden, you are My most prized possessions. Yet a bitter frost has settled upon you and is slowly destroying you. I have heard your hearts cry, as you yearn to be more like me, and I will answer you. Yet that day is not today, for first I must strip away all that is not of Me. The bewildered plants once again cried out, “but why are You cutting so deep. We are already in great agony, if you do anymore You’re going to kill us!” A tear silently rolled down the rugged face of the gardener, as he looked at each one with love and compassion, he replied. “In order to give you abundant life, I must first allow you to fall and let all that is unhealthy and not of me to die away. I know this is painful, but it is for your good. This death must take place, in order to save your lives. Without this pruning today, you would surely and completely die.” Taking a deep breath, the Gardener once again faced his beloved and continued. “Since I planted you within My garden, I have never left you. I know you feel alone and confused as My pruning shears have cut you so deeply, please understand, I never have nor will I ever leave you. I will care for you and restore you to your former glory. Fear not My loved ones, spring is almost here.