Life Needs Suffering

Every branch that does bear fruit God prunes 

so that it will be even more fruitful.

John 15:2

The church had a hedge wrapped around the whole outside of the building.  Every year the men of the church trimmed the hedge.  Each year the hedge looked older and more tired than the year previous.

One member constantly complained about the hedge and the volunteers who care for it.  He told me frequently, “It is an ugly hedge because no one knows how to care for it!”

So I dared him, “Why don’t you take care of it?”

He accepted my dare, promising to trim the hedge the Saturday before Easter.  I  was thrilled, “The church grounds will look great for Easter!”

When I arrived for the Easter Sunrise Service, I noticed that the whole hedge had been cut down to a row of 5” stumps.  I was livid.  The hedge and the church yard looked awful.  But, by September, the hedge and the church grounds looked fantastic.

All of us are convinced that a life without suffering, without loss, without heart-ache is the best life.  God knows better.

Even though it hurts, God prunes us because He wants us to have a more fruitful life.  He cuts away parts of our lives that we love because He wants us to have a better life.   He knows that a life without the pain and suffering of pruning is worthless.  Jesus’ wisdom in John 15:2 describes the nature of God’s love.

When you are pondering WHY you are suffering, reflect on these words:

“Remember the vineyard and learn from it.  The gardener stops pruning and trimming the vine only when he expects nothing more from the vine during that season. He leaves it alone, because its fruitfulness is gone and further effort would yield no profit.  In the same way, freedom from suffering leads to uselessness. Do you want God to stop pruning your life?  Shall God leave you alone?” (1)

God knows the pruning hurts.  He knows that pain and suffering cut your heart and cause you to cry out to Him.

But He also knows that to give you a pain-free life is to give you a useless life.

“To exclude suffering from your life

means you will exclude life itself.”

C. S. Lewis (2)


  1. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, Mrs. Charles E. Streams in the Desert (p. 81). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
  2. Lewis, C. S. A Year with C. S. Lewis (p. 55). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
This entry was posted in God's Grace, Suffering, Trusting God and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Life Needs Suffering

  1. Jennifer Wise says:

    It took some time, but at some point I realized the pain of losing my mother early resulted in my own maturing and much more. I never thought God took her to make me suffer, but that he had things to teach me through my suffering.

    • Rus Howard says:

      Jennifer, loss is never easy and I have come to the point where I do not try to understand, “Why God caused or allowed it?” I accept loss as painful pruning, as brokenness, which if embraced will lead to new life and a fuller life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s