God's Ways Of Pruning

I Asked The LORD

I asked the LORD that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace;
Might more of his salvation know
And seek more earnestly his face.

'Twas he who taught me thus to pray
And he, I trust has answered prayer
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair.

I thought that in some favoured hour
At once he'd answer my request
And by his love's constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest.

Instead of this he made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with his own hand he seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I'd schemed,
Blasted my plans and laid me low.

 "LORD, why is this, " I trembling cried,
"Willl you pursue your worm to death?"
"'Tis in this way," the LORD replied,
"I answer prayer for grace and faith."

 "These inward trials I employ
From sin and self to set you free,
And break your schemes of earthly joy
That you may find your all in me."

~ John Newton Author of "Amazing Grace"

God's Ways Are Not Our Ways

As we can see from the poem above, God's methods of pruning us so we might be more fruitful in his service can sometimes seem strange and the very opposite of what we had asked for.

In ISAIAH 55:8-9 God warns us that his ways are not our ways but we can always be sure that his ways are best.

ROMANS 8:28 tells us that there is nothing that God cannot use to glorify himself in us and through us, if we are willing to surrender our wills to his. 

The supreme example of this of course is Jesus' willingness to submit to the Father's will in going to the Cross at Calvary, when he had prayed and asked to be spared having to drink from the cup of God's wrath at human sin and satanic evil.

Some of God's Methods of Pruning

God's tools and methods for pruning include -
• Putting us in DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE SITUATIONS
• Putting us alongside DIFFICULT OR UNLOVABLE PEOPLE
•  Allowing us to be TESTED BY TRIALS OF VARIOUS KINDS
•  REMOVING THINGS WE HAVE COME TO RELY UPON
•  ASKING US TO GO INTO THE WILDERNESS to wait upon him
•  Apparently CONTRARY ANSWERS TO PRAYERS

Question

Can you think of ways God has used to prune you for his service that have seemed strange or even the very opposite of what you had asked?

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