I remember back in March, when the Pandemic first hit, I felt an anxiety like never before. I guess there is a disadvantage sometimes to having a husband who is a nurse because you hear things. I started hearing scary medical stories. I also have friends who are nurses and I heard things from them too. How nurses were working without adequate PPE, and sometimes with NO PPE. How nurses were catching COVID. I worried for my husband’s safety. And I worried for my own safety as well as my family’s.
I made the decision pretty early on, to limit the news I read on the pandemic, to limit social media. In some ways, I felt I was just sticking my head in the sand. But I had to do it for my sanity. Before the pandemic, I read everyday, but I got so anxious, that I absolutely could not read a book. I tried. Oh, how I tried to read books during March, April, and May, and I just couldn’t concentrate. I tried nonfiction and I tried fiction. I couldn’t read any of it. I tried reading the Bible, but that too was difficult. I called my doctor about my anxiety. I was told they were seeing lots and lots of anxiety. Of course they were.
I’ll admit, I found it hard to pray in the early days of the pandemic, and found myself drawing further and further away from God. I knew I was going in the wrong direction and I know He was the one I needed to draw close to. More. than. ever. I have always believed that God works for good in all things, but after just having gone through a monster of a tornado in my area which destroyed entire neighborhoods – and caused so much death and destruction, I questioned the purpose of it all. After all, what possible good could come from this much heartache and destruction. And then a good neighbor died unexpectedly after a surgery. He was a good Christian man who always did for others, and again, I questioned why God would take a man like this – a man who was always helping other people and still had so much good to give? Then 2 weeks after that tornado, we were in a pandemic. People were sick and people were dying. Again, I questioned the purpose and what possible good could come from so many deaths of innocent people.
And then there were the BLM protests and the riots occurring all over the country. It seemed that there was so much hate erupting everywhere. I really did just want to crawl in a hole and stay there. Though I don’t drink, I found myself wanting to numb myself to it all.
I read once that the trials we endure are us being pruned with pruning shears by God. Pruning hurts but it is necessary to bear good fruit.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:1-2
Sometimes it just downright hurts to get pruned so often from those pruning shears. Yes, I grow sick and tired from all the pruning.
Sometimes I feel there’s a lot more pruning in my life than there is fruit bearing. But I know I need the frequent pruning in order to bear good fruit. I’m not saying I always understand the pruning but I don’t think it’s necessary that I do understand it, just that I know it’s important and necessary.
Every fall, my husband prunes a beautiful red maple tree outside my kitchen window. And every year I think he’s killed that beautiful tree. It always appears to me that he’s gone way too far with the cutting and pruning of the branches. All fall and winter, it’s has bare, dead-looking branches and I miss the beautiful red leaves. And I tell him he’s killed that poor tree. But he says, “No, just wait.” And sure enough, it buds and fills out again, bigger than ever. It’s the same way I feel here in 2020. I think at times that all this pruning is killing me. It’s not. He’s removing the dead branches that aren’t producing fruit.
The problem is, I don’t always know and understand God’s plans. I’m not always going to understand the reason for all the trials (or pruning) in my life. God doesn’t always show me those reasons.
But in my heart, I know God always knows what He is doing. I know that He is working all things for my good. I truly believe that. When trials come which cause heartache and pain, as they have this year, I can trust that God knows what is best for me. Always.
After all, God is omniscient (all-knowing,) omnipotent (all powerful), and omnipresent (always present). He knows what He is doing, and I have to learn to trust that. God is infinite and I am finite. I did reach a point that I could read again and I’m praying again. I am always a work in progress.