Yes, God’s pruning is usually painful. It often involves us giving up something that we’ve held onto dearly for too long. What He trims out of us – bad habits, bad decisions, poor relationships – opens us up to then be more fruitful for Him.
Jesus has been gently inviting me again and again into this place where hope and despair collide and each time is met with greater mystery yet greater peace. The more I engage in that space with Him, the stronger the bookends grow.