Tree Cutters, Pruning, and Power

If you’ve ever taken your pruning shears to your bushes, your trees, your anything at all in your yard, you’ve more than likely felt a sense of relief as you lopped off the excess, the unnecessary, the in-the-way, the whatever stood in the way of a much prettier yard. So you sweated. So you labored. So you might have had better things to do. So you might have wished your kids would have offered to help, or that you could have afforded to pay someone. Or maybe you enjoyed every single minute of it. No matter which way you looked at it, or how precisely you felt about it, you couldn’t help but appreciate that you were fully in control of the pruning. Okay, so you wouldn’t have minded telling a landscaper how exactly you wanted the pruning to go. No matter what, you would have been in full control of the pruning, right? And you would have been in full control of how your landscaping ultimately turned out thanks to the pruning. Today, God sent me a big, old reminder that some pruning – and the end results of it – simply aren’t in our hands.

“Do you really have to cut down that much of my trees?” I asked the supervisor from the power company yesterday when I learned the company planned to install a brand new set of power poles and lines throughout my neighborhood.

I must not have liked the answer, because the words tumbled out of my mouth again today when the tree company contracted by the power company sent a bunch of dedicated, hard-working, tree cutters to prune every single tree that stood anywhere near the power line.

“Do you really have to cut down that much of my trees?” I asked again. The supervisor patiently answered just as he had yesterday.

Yes. Let the pruning begin.

I couldn’t help but walk inside and outside, inside and outside, as I just had to see how much of my beautiful trees would be left. In and out. Back and forth. As though I had any say in the matter.

And there it was. My reminder from God. Who was I to tell the power company just how much of my trees I wanted pruned to avoid getting in the way of the new power line? I knew good and well I had no real say in the matter, whether I whined or not. Whether I begged or not. If I had an ounce of wisdom and respect, I would keep my mouth shut, a smile on my face, and simply thank the crew for a job well done. I wish I could say there were no whines. I wish I could say there was no begging. I have made progress, I can simply say that. The smile stayed on my face, and the whining was minimal. I have made progress in how I handle life.

I have even managed to make some progress in how I handle the things of God. Yes, even when it comes to God’s pruning. For it wasn’t so long ago that I figured I could, and should, and certainly would, tell God how He should handle the pruning of my heart, my life, my relationships, my anything and everything at all. I prayed good, and, well, and hard for God to do things my way. And I most certainly told God what I thought He should – as well as what I thought He had no right – to prune from my life.

Funny how things change. I have progressed from a whining, negative, complaining, controlling baby Christian to a woman of God who knows as clear as day by the Holy Spirit when I fall short. And I find  myself falling short less and less, and yes, even when it comes time for pruning.

Isn’t it something how the crew of workers had to take down the parts of the trees that got in the way of the power line? That’s exactly what God does with me. He gets rid of the stuff in my heart and life that interfere with His power and presence. Pretty cool, huh? Actually, pretty hard. But also pretty amazing. But then, why should I be surprised?

When I truly turn the pruning shears over to the Lord in whose hands they belong, and I truly trust Him to do as He desires, I find myself in awe of what happens when those excess, unnecessary, in-the-way branches are lopped off so His power and presence has nothing blocking His magnificence. 

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