We all go through times when we feel like we're going backward. Things were going well, we knew we had God's favor, but then things turned. We lost a major client, our child didn't get the scholarship, or a friend walked away. We wonder, "What did we do wrong?" But just because you face difficulties that you don't understand doesn't mean you're not in God's will. God is ordering our steps, and sometimes He will order a cutback. Just as there are seasons of growth, there are seasons of pruning. Without the pruning we won't become all we were created to be.
Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit" (John 15:1–2). That makes sense. When we have things in our life that are not productive—a friend who is pulling us down or a job that's leading nowhere—He'll cut those things away so we can put our energy into things that move us forward. But Jesus added, "Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so it will be even more fruitful." The only way to get from "fruit" to "more fruit" is to be cutback. That means there are times when you're doing the right thing and the wrong thing happens. Instead of getting discouraged, recognize that it's a pruning season. Without that cutback you won't see new growth. He wouldn't let you lose your job if He wasn't going to give you something better. He may have pruned a friend out of your life, but there's a better friend coming. You may be satisfied to stay where you are, but God is not satisfied. He has new levels, new opportunities, new relationships in store for you.
Jesus went on to say, "If you abide in me, you will bear much fruit." In John 15, He mentions "fruit," "more fruit," "and much fruit." The way you move up, the way you increase, is simply by abiding. He was saying, "When things happen that you don't understand, abide in Me, trust Me, keep being your best. Believe that I'm still directing your steps, praise Me, and stay faithful." If you keep doing the right thing, keep serving, keep giving, keep expecting favor, keep going the extra mile, then your passing the test. You're about to come in to much fruit. New doors are about to open, new relationships are on the way, negative situations are about to turn around. Because you abide in Him, abundance is coming, healing is coming, breakthroughs are coming, new levels of your destiny.