God Prunes Us Through Misfortunes
God also prunes us through misfortune. When I was in lithuania shortly after the fall of communism, a man in his seventies came up to me during one of the ministry sessions at the conference we were conducting and asked for prayer. My translator and prayer partner told him we would be glad to pray for him. We asked him what he would like us to pray for. He began to tell us about his life. His father and his brother had both been shot and killed. Another brother had starved to death in prison. He had seen something horrible happen to one of his sisters.
Anyone of these things would have been a wrenching experience for someone, but all of them together seemed too much for one person to have to bear. We were sure that this man needed prayer so that he would be able to forgive and receive healing. So we asked him, "Would you like us to pray for healing and forgiveness?"
He looked up at us with a big smile and said, "Oh, no. I've forgiven. What I want to pray for is that my enemies will receive the same grace that I have, that they will know the life of Jesus Christ"
I was dumbfounded. In all humility, I could only say, "We'll pray with you. But then will you pray with us? There are a lot of things, much smaller, that we are holding on to, things that we haven't forgiven."
In spite of this man's terrible tragedy and misfortune, he was still able to accept God's pruning work in his life and bear abundant fruit like most people, he probably experienced bitterness, resentment, hatred, and a desire for revenge at various times. But he prayed for greater faith and for a special grace, and God gave it to him. God's light shone in the face of that man.
At that same conference I talked to two other men who had spent seventeen years in prison camps in Siberia before being released. For all those years they had to deal with freezing temperatures and backbreaking work. It was a mystery to me how they ever survived it Unfortunately, they returned with nothing but bitterness and a desire for revenge in their hearts. I could only pray, "God, give them the grace to forgive." I knew that if they failed to do so, their bitterness would eventually destroy them.
God prunes us through sin. God prunes us through weakness. And God prunes us through misfortune. Ask him to show you what he is doing in your life. Ask him to help you receive the life that he wants to give you through his pruning action so that his life might grow in you.
Mother Teresa regularly prayed a little prayer that Cardinal John Newman composed: "Shine in me, and so be in me, that all with whom I come into contact may know thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus." Frankly, the only thing worth living for is that those who see us might see Jesus. Pruning is one of the ways in which our life decreases and God's life increases.
from Pray and Never Lose Heart - The Power of Intercession by Sr. Ann Shields pp.83-84