A famous chapter in the Bible. It contains some of our Lord's final words before He was crucified.
I took a trip to Italy a year ago and, very appropriately, heard a sermon on this chapter. It really opened my eyes to God's dealings with us.
The branches of a grape vine receive all of it's life and nutrients from the vine itself. With a healthy vine the branches grow out long and full. There comes a point, though, where the branches get so long, that they no longer produce any fruit. You see, all of the nutrients from the vine must go into keeping the long branch alive, that it cannot support the growth of any grapes. The vinedresser then must come along and cut away at the branch. He knows exactly where the branch needs to be cut. If he cuts it too close to the vine, the branch will die all together. If he cuts it too far away, the branch will still not produce optimal fruit. So he cuts the branch. What happens next? Not only does the branch begin to produce fruit once again, but several new branches sprout out from the shortened branch! Eventually much more fruit is produced with the shortened branch than what was originally produced when that branch was first that length!
The vinedresser is skilled in his work. Before if I had visited a vineyard and seen a vinedresser cutting back all the branches, I would question why he was destroying his beautiful vineyard. I would think him a very poor vinedresser. But such is not the case at all. In the "destruction" or cutting away that he performs, he is simply making his vineyard worth more value.
So, the connection? God is our vinedresser. He is skilled in His dealings with us and those who cross our paths. He knows what cutting away he needs to do in each one of our lives, because he knows his vineyard well. He sees our hearts, while others just see our outward appearances. And so he cuts away at the areas that have grown wild and interfere with our effectiveness. For a moment, the cutting away seems to be destructive to the branch, but with time, as new branches begin to grown, the faithfulness of our loving God is proven again.
Don't question the cutting away that God does in your own life. Embrace it with confidence knowing that His plans are for good and not for evil. And at the same time, don't question the work that God is doing in the lives of those around you. In seeking to trust God with your own life, learn to trust Him and His dealings with everyone else as well.