Awhile back my wife decided she wanted some rose bushes in the front of our house. She told me there was a kind that needed very little attention and yet they bloomed with beautiful roses. They are called “Knockout” roses. These bushes have continuous blooms, compact growth and are very hardy especially for flowers.

They are popular because they are the first no maintenance rose – perfect for the lazy or inexperienced gardener. You don’t have to hardly water, spray or fertilize them. You just plant them and they will bloom, bloom, bloom with no work or care.

So we, well she planted them and sure enough they produced beautiful red roses and did make the front of our home look nice. Last fall our landscaping people cut them way down. They pruned the bushes to about a third of their height. I was surprised since they hadn’t done this the previous year. I wondered what the roses would look like this spring.

Well, the bushes are back to their size and the roses are once again blooming beautifully just like last year. I couldn’t help but think of the words of Jesus in John 15:1-2, “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts away every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit. But he trims clean every branch that does produce fruit so it will produce even more fruit.”

God’s way of producing growth is to prune us. Pruning does not look or feel good. Going backward to go forward is not something most of us would sign up for in life. Yet, Jesus tells us that God will cut away what He thinks is holding us back from greater growth.

It turns out there was a reason they pruned our rose bushes. The Knockout rose has a weakness – rose rosette. A virus first discovered in the western U.S. around 1940. Eriophyid mites that are so tiny they literally blow into gardens on the wind spread the virus. When they feed on a rose, they transmit it.

Because a virus causes rose rosette, it eventually spreads internally to every part of the plant. Once a rose gets full-blown rose rosette it is ruined. You must pull up the rose bush and throw it out. It cannot be saved. The only sure way to keep from having rose rosette is to prune back the bushes by 2/3 while they're dormant to remove any overwintering mites and eggs in the bud crevices.

Sometimes God prunes us. He cuts away the spiritual virus that will destroy us. And he trims away what may be working so he can bring something even better into our lives. If you feel diminished right now know that in the next season you will bloom beautifully.


About Rick McDaniel

Rick McDaniel is a noted author, international communicator and church leader. He is the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, Virginia. The church is known for its contemporary and innovative services and has a worldwide reach through www.highimpactchurch.tv. McDaniel has earned three degrees including an advanced degree from Duke University and is the author of​ six​​ books including his latest "Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks." He has traveled and spoken at conferences and churches worldwide spanning six continents.

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