A few weeks ago in one of his many press briefings Governor Cuomo encouraged us to take stock of the unexpected blessings of the pandemic. Using himself as an example Cuomo explained that he was spending quality time with his daughters, quality time that simply wasn’t there before for him and his family. I felt a resonance with his words. I know my wife, Becca, did, too.
Yesterday, as we sat in front of our house and watched Emma ride her bike up and down our little street, Becca noted that if not for pandemic we wouldn’t be sitting and watching Emma do just that. What Becca meant was that before the pandemic hit Emma was still riding her bike with training wheels. Now because of all the time she has had riding her bike, she has learned to ride it without her training wheels. And I should stress, this was all Emma’s doing, she learns things on her own time and terms. As a result, her and I are able to set out on our own bike riding adventures.
Sometimes we need circumstances to push us onwards in life, to learn the things that God needs and wants us to learn. Strangely, tragedies are often the best fodder and the best soil to do so in. Think about the moments when you really grew in life, when you made great strides, were they the easy or hard times? The predictable or unpredictable times? The happy or the sad? Or somewhere in the middle?
In the Gospel of John Jesus tells us that he is the vine and we are the branches and he follows this up with some important information. He says every branch of his that bears fruit the Father prunes so that it may bear more fruit. In other words, if we are to bear more fruit, if we are to grow further in Christ, our God is in the task of pruning us, of taking away the things that may be keeping us back from true growth in Him. This may be painful in the moment, but it will prove to be worthwhile and fruit bearing in the long run.
Going back to Emma, in her efforts to learn how to ride her bike without much help or assistance from Becca and I she got plenty of bumps and bruises. She definitely fell and had some scary moments, but she did it, she learned how to ride her bike. Now, Becca and I can sit back and watch her ride her bike, with a certain amount of pride and happiness.
I wonder if that’s how our God looks at us; when we finally grow as a result of his pruning and learn the things he needs us to learn and become the people he calls us to become.