God Is Pruning Us in This Pandemic

by | Aug 18, 2020 | Blogs, Fire in My Bones

Have you ever imagined the year 2020 was just a bad dream? I’ve had that fantasy many times since the coronavirus pandemic started six months ago. But I always wake up and realize this nightmare is real.

Life hasn’t been easy. Some of us got infected with COVID-19, or we know people who were sick or even died. People with loved ones in nursing homes haven’t been able to visit in months. Many of us lost jobs, or experienced a serious drop in income. Families have had to deal with closed schools and shuttered businesses. Meanwhile the U.S. economy shrank 32.9% in the second quarter of 2020—the sharpest economic contraction in modern American history.

The impact the pandemic has had on churches has been devastating. After weeks of virtual meetings, churches that now are meeting in person have learned that many of their members are too afraid to be around people or they’ve grown too accustomed to watching church in their pajamas at home. Church budgets have been slashed, staff positions have been eliminated, and pastors are wondering if having even 50% of their previous members is the new normal.

We’ve been challenged. We’ve been hit with overwhelming discouragement. We’ve been stretched to a breaking point.

Yet those of us who love Jesus know we can’t despair. The pandemic didn’t take Him by surprise. He not only has promised to be with us during our worst trials, but He promises to use this crisis for our good.

When my ministry travel schedule was canceled in mid-March, and I had no idea where I would get my income, the Lord took me to John 15 and underscored these words from verse 2: “Every branch in Me that bears no fruit, He takes away. And every branch that bears fruit, He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Jesus was sharing an uncomfortable truth in this verse. If we want to grow spiritually, and if we want more spiritual fruit, we must submit to the Father’s plan, not ours. He has to cut things away so new growth will appear. He might even need to prune things we cling to. We can’t just skate along in comfort, always getting what we want. If we desire the fruit of a mature Christian life, we must welcome adversity.

British preacher Charles Spurgeon, when preaching about John 15, said: “All fruit-bearing saints must feel the knife.”

I don’t like the knife! Pruning is an ugly, painful and embarrassing experience. If you’ve ever seen a row of pruned trees, you know what I mean. Grapevines that have been pruned are cut back so drastically they look dead. Are you willing to live the pruned life?

Pruning cuts off what is ineffective. This pandemic has been painful, but when we look back in a year we’ll realize that God used it to eliminate things in our lives that weren’t working. Some churches, for example, are realizing they were pouring tons of financial resources into programs or buildings that had no spiritual impact. Pruning has revealed what is essential for us to make a powerful, book of Acts-style impact on our communities.

Pruning brings new life and more fruit. A tree that has never been pruned looks good. But unless the dead wood is cut away along with the showy leaves, we will never see new blooms. We need the knife. The church will not look the same in 2021. Right now we are an ugly sight, stripped of our big audiences, our celebrity preachers and our cool worship bands. We have been reduced to basics. But with the cutting comes something fresh and powerful, something that is so much better than church as we knew it prior to the pandemic.

Pruning draws us closer to Jesus. More than anything, the knife brings us into a deeper connection with Jesus, the “true vine” (John 15:1). He promises that those who submit to His pruning process will abide closely with Him. Isn’t this what we want? We cannot abide in Him if a thousand other things are distracting us. Life prior to this pandemic was too busy and too cluttered. Jesus wants our focus to be on Him. The process of pruning cuts away everything else so we can love Him and trust Him fully.

If you are willing to embrace God’s knife of pruning, pray with me: “Lord, I choose to rejoice in the midst of this difficult season. I know You can cause all things to work together for my good. Forgive me for complaining. I welcome Your pruning process in my life. Cut away my unfruitful branches so I can bear much fruit for You. And purify Your church in 2020 so we can welcome a fresh movement of Your Holy Spirit in this new season.” {eoa}

J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books, including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Why There is Power in Your Song

Why There is Power in Your Song

Do you have a great voice? If so, then sing! Do you have a horrible voice? If so, then sing! There is power in the song. God gave you your vocal cords, voice and ability to sing. There has never been a culture in which music was not part of society. We see music...

How Would an Encounter in Heaven Transform Your Life?

How Would an Encounter in Heaven Transform Your Life?

Have you ever wondered what heaven was like? What does a person see and experience when they are in heaven? Is the arrival in immediate when a believer dies? These are great questions and ones that Rabbi Felix Halpern can answer. A mix-up in medicine brought about a...

Prophet: Learning to Listen With Discernment

Prophet: Learning to Listen With Discernment

Learning to listen with discernment means that you begin to recognize the voice of God so well that other voices sound unfamiliar. In John 10:5a, Jesus told his followers, "Yet they will never follow a stranger." This statement needs to become a reality in your life....

5 Stages of Building a Successful Team

5 Stages of Building a Successful Team

The definition and purpose of leadership are directly tied to organizational models and the five stages of building an organizational model. Let’s talk about those five stages. What we say here may sound somewhat like what you may have heard before about building a...

Mario Murillo Compares America Now to Israel on Mount Carmel

Mario Murillo Compares America Now to Israel on Mount Carmel

America stands in a crucial moment, much like the moment where Elijah made Israel choose between Baal and Jehovah. Elijah said to the people, "How long do you halt between two opinions? If Baal is God..." That's according to Evangelist Mario Murillo, whose ministry...

Spirit-Filled Pastor: Can I Ask God for Confirmation?

Spirit-Filled Pastor: Can I Ask God for Confirmation?

There are many incidents of God giving people a sign throughout the Bible. Although I believe God still does this, I also believe that we must be careful. Asking for a sign can be misleading if other factors are not taken into consideration. In Genesis, we find an...

RECENT ARTICLES

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: Are You Ready To Meet Jesus?

The last words Jesus spoke to me in my 23 Minutes In Hell vision were, “Tell them I am coming very, very soon.” Then He repeated Himself and said again, “Tell them I am coming very, very soon.” The...
Prophecy: The Breach in Our Nation Will Be Repaired

Prophecy: The Breach in Our Nation Will Be Repaired

Praise be to Almighty God, righteous judge, holy of holies, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. The earth is His footstool, and to His kingdom there is no end! Breached Births The Spirit of the Lord says this day: “There has been a breach—breached births, My...

10 Reasons the Apostolic Movement Is Essential to Gospel Expansion

10 Reasons the Apostolic Movement Is Essential to Gospel Expansion

The global apostolic movement is the most significant expression of Christianity today. This is the view expressed by historian Philip Jenkins. He talks about the rapid expansion of the church in the global south, much of which is reminiscent of the first-century...

Experience a Better Kind of Love in Your Relationships

Experience a Better Kind of Love in Your Relationships

Do you have any relationship struggles? Perhaps you want to learn how to love, for real. Too often today, people search for a fairytale love and are disappointed when the fairytale fizzles, which it will. Michael Gibson, author of Real Life Love, challenges folks to...

The Roaring Heart Podcast with Anthony Hart

The Roaring Heart Podcast with Anthony Hart

The Roaring Heart Podcast With Anthony Hart The Roaring Heart Podcast is a prophetic podcast reflecting the heart of the Holy Spirit in people. It’s a unique mix of interviews, prophetic declarations, prayers, heartfelt monologues, spoken word excerpts, and soaking...

The Power of Godly Words Over Another Life—and Yours

The Power of Godly Words Over Another Life—and Yours

Have the words that others have spoken over you ever significantly impacted you? Words can birth destinies on the inside of us and bring hope to our hearts for the future. They have the power to ignite our dreams and give life to our souls. At the same time, negative...

How You Can Foil the Plot Against Your Life

How You Can Foil the Plot Against Your Life

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Jesus warned us that we have an enemy, and he is a thief. He steals our joy, purpose, peace and, if he can, our future. Jesus knew it was important to warn us...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]