All of creation is not designed to be a cruel joke or a divine punishment because we are bad. The short, uphill climb of our mortal existence is designed to make us grow. The difficulties of our life in the flesh provide the best opportunity to make stronger, healthier spiritual beings out of us. Adversity breeds character.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
The pruning which the Father performs in our lives is the day to day ministry in our minds. We are confronted with situations, with people and jobs and family and friends which force us to make decisions. We must analyze and prayerfully consider each new situation and find the best plan for the situation.
The best plan is the right plan.
If we bring our challenges to God and are open and willing to follow the counsel given, then we will grow. The only real struggle in the believer’s mind is whether to follow the will of God or not. If we follow God, then there is the peace which surpasses all understanding.
God is lavish with time and extravagant in his efforts with the individual. Moses spent 40 years in Midian before he began his life’s work. Perhaps it took that long to get the stubbornness out of Moses’ heart. After growing up in the palace, maybe he needed a lot of humbling to prepare him for his later ministry. We are told he became the father of two sons. The maturity which was needed to lead the Israelites was no doubt influenced by the struggle and challenge of providing and caring for a family.
Moses truly was the servant of all and the greatest of his people. The fruit which Joshua spoke of is the social service to our brothers and sisters. As we grow and become more Godlike, we naturally desire and work for the benefit of others. God is naturally helpful. It’s just the way he is. He enjoys doing good to us.