Today, during my puny attempt at a run, I passed an interesting sign. It said "Nothing's broken. This is a landscape drain."
It seems that this family has had difficulty with people calling the city water department when water came pouring down the street because they thought a pipe must be busted to cause that much water. Instead, it is simply a type of drain put into a yard to remove excess water from building up. In other words, it's doing its job.
You guessed it, that's where the "random thoughts" began.
This week has been a particularly difficult week, (and all the teachers said "Amen!") As I was talking to one of my teacher friends, I mentioned that the children of Israel didn't just take over the whole promised land at once. There were giants in the land and they had to be ready for the battles they would encounter (and by ready, I mean fully leaning on God!) Some of what we encounter is preparation for doing battle with those giants...learning to trust God in all things. At times, we can sense God's presence....other times, we cannot. That does not mean He's not there. As people, we tend to assume that if things aren't going well, it's because something is really wrong. Maybe it's just the "drain" doing its job. Even when we can't really see what's going on, we're learning to trust God.
Let me try to explain. In John 15:2, we are told that any branch that is not fruitful is cut off, and any branch that is bearing fruit is pruned so that it will become more fruitful. (my paraphrase). Perhaps the storms we experience at times aren't so much because of what's wrong, but they are simply a part of the process of growth in which God is preparing us to become even more fruitful! There's no need to sound the alarm. If the storm isn't because of something wrong (see the pothole blog), then perhaps it is simply a part of the process of our pruning that will make us more fruitful.
Now I will be the first to say I don't get excited about pruning. When things are going well, I'd just as soon we keep it at the status quo and keep plugging along at what I'm doing. However, that's not the way things usually work. We're all either moving forward or backward. If we're "standing still", we're usually growing stagnant and if you've ever smelled stagnant water, you know that's not a good thing. Pruning takes that which is "working" and fine tunes it so that it works even better! Anyone who has ever pruned a rose bush knows that while this may not be a pretty process, it's well worth the "barren" looking times.
So, if in my life you should see what looks like a busted water pipe, have no fear. It could just be my "landscape drain" at work....washing away things that are not fruitful and doing a bit of pruning on those things that are. That doesn't mean I won't appreciate your prayers in the process....and I promise to do the same for you when it's your turn for pruning.