Fresh Hope – 23 May 2019

Leaves were piled on top of each other. Petals, stems, and sticks, scattered across the table. I had arrived home to a beautiful bunch of white roses from my husband. Only to showcase them in a vase, I needed to do some serious pruning, trimming, and chopping. My hands had to be pricked many times by thorns. A considerable mess was made on the dining-room table in preparing these flowers.

Once the stems were trimmed to an appropriate length, and the leaves pulled off, the roses were ready to be displayed in the centre of the room. When people come over, they certainly will notice these gorgeous flowers, but they will never see the messy process that got them there. They will admire their arrangement, and their beauty, but not know the hard work, pricked fingers, and cut sticks and stems required.

In life we are quick to recognise the wonderful. We want the wonderful. We feel sad if we don’thave the wonderful. What we can easily misunderstand is the messy process that often leads to true beauty and wonder. Most messy work is done in the privacy of our hearts in order for something beautiful to be cultivated in our lives.

You should see the mess I make in the kitchen in order to produce a good meal. Or the mess I make when I’m in the process of creating a piece of art. Or the mess in the middle of sorting and clearing out a room in the house. It is always a messy process that leads to something beautiful.

People don’t post about their processes, they don’t display the mess. They don’t often enjoy the cutting and the chopping, the molding and the shaping. Some don’t even recognise it’s happening. But process is not to be despised, rather embraced as a necessary in our lives.

John 15:2 says, ‘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’.

Bearing fruit, or not, be prepared – you WILL be either cut or pruned.

If you feel like you are in the process of a private mess, if you feel you are getting pruned and painfully shaped, rest in the reality that your beauty is on its way.

Don’t merely seek the glorious, and despise the messy process that gets you there. People may only see the beauty that stands on the outside, but it is the careful, refining process of the Holy Spirit trimming, cutting, chopping, and clearing our inner lives, that will get you there.

Emma Burchell


A daily devotion for a better way of living.