Having just finished flowering, the forsythia heard flattering remarks. A child said, “Mommy, look at the little yellow bells.” The botanist said, “This is a decorative genus of the olive family.” Passers-by remarked, “Look at the forsythia, a sure sign that spring is here!” But then the forsythia heard ominous words: “It’s time to prune.” In humility the forsythia bowed to the ordeal. Had the shrub refused, there would have not been flowers the following spring. Giving up its beauty, the forsythia preserved its future glory. Yielding to the pruning, the humble forsythia preserved its life.
The paradox of losing life to save it is part of an incomprehensible divine logic. The seed breaks its cotyledons to sprout, fireweed flourishes after the land is burned, and clover is plowed under to enrich the soil. “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. The one who loves his life loses it, while the one who hates his life in this world preserves it to life eternal.”
Challenging God, prune me when you will.