Studying the Bible can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. If we open our hearts to the truths contained therein we find many of the puzzling questions in life have reasonable answers. This is especially true regarding the presence of 09 pruningevil in the world and pain in our own lives. The scriptures teach us that God is a God of love and only allows problems in our lives as the baker allows some nasty ingredients into the recipe because when the cake comes out of the oven it’s better for having had those ingredients. His promise is both old, Jeremiah 29:11, and new, Romans 8:28. He promises us that regardless of the current situation all things will work out in the end for our good. His good plans and purposes for us will never be derailed by any person, pain or problem. Jesus taught his disciples this truth on several different occasions.

Jesus explained to His disciples that God intentionally uses our pain, problems and people to make us all that he wants us to be. All our problems, pressures, pains, and difficult people are part of God’s plan to make us more productive! Jesus says that he is “the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1). Now that he has disciples, and us as well, thinking about growing grapes (fruit) on vines and that process, He moves on to something that they are all very familiar with; the necessity of pruning. He says in the next verse, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

When we think about it, I expect every believer understands this concept. In fact, I’d expect many believers know too much about this already. It seems the most painful pruning experiences in life are brought on by the hands and words of others. God will often use difficult people in our lives to prune us. It might involve ugly things people say to or about us. It might just be operating in an environment where you are certain your style, personality, or appearance is something that is just unacceptable. Over my years in ministry I’ve faced and still face many people weekly who disapprove of me and my style. God will use them for good in my life. It doesn’t matter what their intentions are, God always means it for my good. That’s what our faith is all about. Joseph learned this truth about his own brothers who wanted to kill him but ended up selling him into slavery. When the power to retaliate was in his hands, he simply stated, “you meant it for bad, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). God always means it for good for you and me also.