We had a surprise snowstorm here in Pennsylvania at the end of October. This lilac bush was in our yard when we moved in fifteen years ago and it was pretty old then. The snow was very wet and it just couldn't stand the strain. The whole bush was bent over, but the thicker (older) trunks could not bend sufficiently to weather the added weight. When I saw the storm damage, I couldn't help but think of the term "stiff-necked" which is mentioned 19 times in the Bible. In the Old Testament, it refers to the Israelites being stiff-necked(stubborn, unyielding). In Proverbs 29:1, WE are warned against being stiff-necked-
A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed--without remedy.
In Acts 7:51, the only reference in the New Testament, it reads "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!"
Being stubborn is mentioned 28 times. I'm thinking God knew we were going to have a tough time with our stubbornness.
I suppose I could have gone outside during the storm and brushed the snow away from the highest branches. I could have tied the branches to the garage to help support the weight. But I didn't do anything beforehand to prepare for the coming storm. I didn't even think about it until after, when I saw the damage. I've read that one shouldn't prune a lilac bush more than one third of its size; more than that will kill it. In looking at the total bush, it looks like I won't have to do any pruning this season. God has taken care of that for me. He has pruned me recently, also. The dead wood that was resisting the Holy Spirit has been removed; the Holy Spirit has refilled me. I have been transformed. The transformation happens when we stop resisting the Holy Spirit and allow His leading.