Guest Post: The Pruner’s Knife

I’m thrilled to share a guest post by my dad, Duane Hoy, today. He is eighty-three years young and has known the Lord since age twelve. May his insightful words and message bless you in a special way today!

The Pruner’s Knife

As I sit at my breakfast table and look out the sliding glass doors, I’m able to look a few feet beyond my patio and see my new young Royal Star magnolia.

It is not to be confused with other large varieties of magnolia trees. It is more naturally a bush but can be trained to grow more like a tree by cutting all but the strongest trunk and letting it grow like a small tree. It’s a very early bloomer being covered with snowy pure white blooms, this spring starting in mid-February.

My landscaper planted mine a year ago in the spring after I spotted it at a nursery in west Tulsa on the other side of the Arkansas River.

My heart was immediately set on getting one for my backyard, fulfilling a very long-held desire. I enjoyed three wonderful weeks of glistening snow-white blooms this last spring.

I am so wonderfully reminded of a beautiful individual who had a small to medium size Royal Star magnolia in his backyard.

Bro. John Howard and his wife Grace lived in a small block house on N. Grand in Pittsburg, KS, where our young family had moved in the early 1960s.

After thirty years of missionary service in India, Bro. John and Grace came back home to Pittsburg. He never owned a car but walked his routes in  Pittsburg, still being a missionary for another thirty years.

A very kind and gentle man, he would walk to our house way out on the north end of town to pay a short visit and pray for us and especially our four little girls—that they would develop into the godly women they are today. Then I would drive him back home. Needless to say, he was indelibly printed on my heart in a forever way.

As I observed my magnolia a few weeks after its blooming, I noticed the new growth was coming out in more of a horizontal direction. As it is yet only four to four and one half feet tall, I wanted it to grow in an upward direction, so I took the sharpest blade on my knife and made several studied cuts, removing the end growths on some limbs, hoping for the best. Some weeks later here in mid-June with plenty of rain, quite a bit of new growth is flourishing. Sure enough it is reaching in an upward direction.

This caused me to reflect on my own life and maybe you too have experienced some difficult circumstances, ones that might cause us to wince and cry out in pain.

Could it be that our master gardener is seeking some upward growth in our lives, reaching up to Him?

“‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener . . . every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.’” John 15:1-2 NIV

How has God used his pruner’s knife in your life lately?

The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*My photo


  1. This is a beautiful exhortation from your father who makes a great guest today!

  2. Natalie Tilley says

    What great example pf how our Father in heaven prunes us to show us the way to Him!!
    Love you Duane!! Miss you lots too!!

  3. Debbie Smith says

    Thank you Duane Hoy for this teaching from God and for your example of being a lifelong learner! My love to the family! Debbie Peters Smith

  4. What a surprise this AM? Were you keeping this a secret on purpose?? :) Thank you for asking Dad to write this and thank you to Dad for being willing to putting his words to paper. Loved it!

    • Debbie, so glad you loved it! I didn’t really intend to keep it a secret, but it was kind of neat that it worked out that way :) Dad wrote this and sent it to me thinking I might like to use it sometime — and he was right! I loved being able to feature him and his message here.

  5. Janice Bryat says

    Loved reading this. The Bible verse is so appropriate and Rachael
    Carson is one of my favorite writers also. Lets see more., Janice

  6. This is such a beautiful reminder to me that God’s love is consistent, even when I sometimes feel so tired of the pruning! (I didn’t know until now, Cheryl, that you got your marvelous writing skills from your dad!)

    • Jeneal, you’re right – the pruning is not easy, is it? And yes, Dad likes the written word, both reading and writing his own thoughts from time to time. His dad also had that “something” in him that liked to write things down. He kept those five-year diaries that were so popular so many years ago and Dad wrote in some of those as well. That desire to write seems to run in our blood. My grandma on my mom’s side also liked to keep diaries so I had that writing “gene” coming from both sides!

  7. Cheryl, I was so pleased to see this picture of your Dad and read what he had written. I just felt that I was sitting right there across the table from him listening to him share his thoughts. I believe he is one of the wisest, most gentle & sweet men I have ever known. I called Larry in to read your post and he said, “Yep, that sounds just like Duane. I sure miss him.” Please give him a hug for me the next time you see him.

    • Judy, thanks so much for your sweet note and message about Dad. Love how you felt like you were sitting right there listening to him as you read. I’m sure Dad misses you all too. Will be sure to give him a hug for you!

  8. Joyce Virtue says

    Love this thank you

Leave a Comment