Several weeks ago I had the unpleasant task of having to cut back my lamb's ears. They had pretty much taken over my garden, were as tall as my azaleas and they were actually so large that they were starting to die. After consulting with a master gardener, I was told that they were probably too big for the root system to support them, I would have to cut them back, removing all those tall and glorious flowers and any part of the plant that was dead.
As I got going into this project I was horrified to discover just how much of the plant needed to go. There was an entire section in the middle that was decaying...."the heart" of my lamb's ear was dead and had to go.
It seriously broke my heart to have to cut and up-root my poor lamb's ear. I have watched these plants grow from small little potted plants to a muscle man of a plant, covering over half my garden floor now.
It was so difficult to go and essentially UNDO everything that had been worked for, all that time and effort growing, only for me to come along and chop it. As hard as it would have been for that plant, it was EXCRUCIATING for me, who loved and cared for this plant.
It got me thinking and wondering, is this how our Heavenly Father feels when He gives us trials? Does he sometimes have to "cut back" a little of us so that we can thrive and grow? How it must hurt Him to see us work so hard and then have to take away what we have worked for, knowing all along that we need that in order to be healthy and become the best we can be, but also knowing that we don't understand that.
What I really have learned though, comes from the results. My lamb's ears, who looked pretty pitiful for a while after their pruning, didn't just give up and decide it wasn't worth it anymore. They didn't just lay there and wither. They have started over. Where they were cut, new buds are forming. They are having to start over from the beginning but that's just what they do. They somehow, someway, just keep going. Not only that, but they have spread, planting new seeds in other places, I have little tiny lamb's ears EVERYWHERE! The plants are healthy again, now that they don't have those beautiful things weighing them down.
I guess, sometimes it has to hurt a little, we have to lose something in order to be the best we can be. I guess we just pick up where we left off and keep trying, even though we have to start over again....we just keep growing.