“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” – Romans 6:4, NIV

Luke was home during a thunderstorm when lightning struck the tree in his front yard. He loved the tree and didn’t want to risk killing it. So he left it alone, hoping that the tree would eventually revive.

But a neighbor cautioned Luke against his approach. “If you don’t remove the dead branches, the decaying wood will attract insects and infect the healthy parts of the tree. To save it, you need to do some pruning.”

Sometimes, God allows lightning to strike our lives—it might be the unexpected diagnosis, the sudden accident, or the loss of a job. These events are painful but they often lead to pruning our lives.

Maybe that diagnosis was a wakeup call that you need to work on your marriage or that sudden accident prompted you to restore a relationship with an aging parent. Perhaps the job loss brought a renewed commitment to handling your resources like a wise steward.

When you’re facing a big change or new beginning in your life, ask God what He wants to teach you. Be open to the Holy Spirit’s movement and act on what He reveals to you.

God, show me what branches I need to prune in my life. Give me the courage to be brave and follow You in obedience. In Jesus’ name, Amen.