From a friend in the Middle East
The olives are all harvested and now it is pruning time. Jesus talks about pruning: “Every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be more fruitful” (John 15:2). I have always thought of that pruning in a very Western way—trim the branches a little, but not enough for most people to notice, and I’m not excited about getting pruned like that. So I’m a little in shock here. Once the pruners have worked down a row of our beautiful, luscious olive trees, there are more branches and leaves on the ground than left on the tree! Jesus was talking about vines, not olives, but I’ve heard vines are pruned even more dramatically. And that’s scary when I think that God prunes us sometimes. A host of verses come to my mind about God’s ways and wisdom and plans for us. So I am deciding again to trust God, because He does know what He’s doing with the pruning shears.