Bearing the Fruit of Unpleasant Discipline

Written by Rachel Denison

Remember my hydrangeas that desperately need consistent watering? Well, they’re the topic of yet another blog. Last fall I had to go through the depressing process of pruning my glorious hydrangea bushes. It was not fun­–it was very messy. You have to cut off all the dying blooms, clear the beds of dead leaves and debris, and remove literally every leaf. You leave your beautiful bushes looking naked and bare–trust me, it’s a very sad sight.

The past week in Dallas we have been experiencing tons of rain. Remember who loves water? My blessed hydrangeas. On top of that we’ve had the mildest winter I’ve seen in a long time. Time passed through the “winter,” and I honestly avoided even looking at my hydrangeas because they were so pitiful and barren. These large bushes had virtually gone unnoticed for months until the other day.

I love the spring. I love seeing all the trees bud and bloom. It’s my favorite! I wonder at the new life that comes with the season right before my eyes. Tulips and daffodils sprout through my neighborhood, and it is a joy to imagine my neighbors finally seeing the fruit of their labor and discipline last fall to plant the bulbs.

After a walk through our neighborhood, immensely enjoying all the colorful buds popping up painting the whole street again, I suddenly remembered my hydrangea bushes. To my surprise, my hydrangeas' vigor matched that of the redbud trees sprouting new life in my neighbor's yard. Like a proud parent, I ooed and awed at their amazing growth! And right before my eyes, I was bearing the fruit and joy that faithful discipline inevitably brings, and I didn’t even know it.

I look forward to the bright pink blooms that will inevitably come within the next couple months! But right now, I’m enjoying the lush green leaves that can’t stop popping up. It’s amazing how biblical principles are and always will be true. Hebrews 12:11 says, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

It may sound silly, but I am experiencing that peaceful fruit, and I’m looking back on that time of discipline pruning away those dead branches with joy and thankfulness. Of course, the parallels in our own lives are obvious and deeply encouraging. These hydrangeas will serve as a reminder of this truth. God turns all things good. As I think back on my last year, one marked by pain, refining and discipline, I can in turn look forward with true, abiding hope for the future. Absolutely nothing is wasted with God. No season, regardless of how unpleasant, is ever wasted in the hands of our faithful Father. Reminding myself of this truth melts away my sadness and pulses hope through my heart again. Never underestimate the value of your present faithfulness to God in every season. There is never a moment you’re not in his hand or that he is not sovereign over. Just keep saying “yes.” You will yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness in due time.