A large Ficus tree forms a vast canopy over our front yard. This particular species I’m told is part of the banyan family and known as a Sacred Fig. It has winding branches and curving roots that grow along the surface of the ground. For over 20 years I’ve stared at this tree in wonder, gleaning inspiration because it’s beautiful.
This class is tolerant to various climates and soil. However, its tough nature causes invasive roots. To keep roots from causing damage, they have to be cut back periodically or removed. If planted too close, the roots can wreak havoc on septic systems and driveways. Something Chap and I are familiar with (sigh). But oh . . . this tree! I love this tree.
After filming my dance devo of Psalm 1 The Tree of Life (shown below) I had a dream where I was pruning a sagging branch from our Sacred Fig. Struggling to pull it free with bare hands, I shook and tugged fully determined to get it loose. Once I finally yanked the dead part free and tossed it, the pruned part of the branch grew at an accelerated pace. It shot straight up to the sky, lush with greenery, farther than I could see.
Convinced God was speaking about spiritual pruning, the next day I searched out John 15:2 where it says, He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.
Pruning is performed to protect a tree or shrub. The Bible illustrates in John 15 God’s desire to prune, or protect us, from anything that may be hindering a healthy growth pattern. When we remain in His loving care and engage in the cleansing process (even when it’s uncomfortable) He promises overflowing joy and a fruitful harvest as a result.
Jesus The True Vine
In 2006 my pastor and his wife hired me to work in the church office as an administrative assistant. The first task assigned was transcribing a sermon series called Standing on the Promises of God. Due to unpredictable (and at the time undiagnosed) health circumstances, I wasn’t able to dance, teach, or run my design business effectively. So, they graciously offered me flexible hours so I could earn some money. I basically worked when I could, sat at a desk, and listened to the Word.
My health struggle, along with several other hardships at that time, became an extended pruning season for me. Although I had received Jesus eight years prior, I still lacked wisdom and had strongholds that had carried over from my rebellious past. Unhealthy thought patterns and past wounds needed to be uprooted before I could experience the full healing God desired for me. Although God did not cause my pain, He was calling me to abide in Him through it. As I immersed myself in the Scriptures, God challenged me to not just believe what I read but to also obey what I learned.
This spiritual pruning time was the longest and hardest season of my life, but also the most pivotal in my growth and maturity as a Believer. Through it I learned that faith requires obedience. A relationship with Jesus is a solid commitment that requires hearing His teachings and practicing them daily. And although I fail at times to do His will perfectly, Abba’s love and mercy always leads me back to Him.
Deeply Rooted in the Word of “I Am”
No one can escape hardships, but we can learn to be reshaped through them. The hope is that we come out better on the other side, and that we don’t remain deadwood or stuck in old patterns. God is more concerned with the condition of our hearts than He is about changing circumstances on our timetable. Nevertheless, if our passion remains deeply rooted in the Word of “I Am,” then we will be fruitful and prosperous in every season of life. Whether on the mountaintop or in the valley, no matter what we go through, when we abide in the true vine, God promises us a victorious conclusion.
Psalm 1 The Tree of Life Dance Devo
This is my attempt at feeding the lake of creativity. Video was taken during the April quarantine. May all who watch receive a double blessing of fruitfulness and prosperity.