Her name was unrecognizable and unpronounceable to we westerners.Years ago she decided to go by JP.
A native Bahamian of English descent, she was a raucous and charming tour guide. With short, curly, salt and pepper hair tied back in a no nonsense band, her full figure was stuffed to overflowing in her khaki uniform.
Full of facts and island lore, she regaled us over an ancient CB radio. As we drove our jeeps behind her like geese in flight, we learned everything we never knew we wanted to know.
The lonely scene stretching before us was aptly named The Pine Barren. I never thought land with foliage could be called barren, but there is no better word.
Though covered with knee-deep vegetation of ferns and brambles, there was an emptiness about it. The main contributor to this lonely scene were the Yellow Pine trees, indigenous to only four Bahamian islands.
Unlike any pines I’d seen before, these trees covered the plains. But instead of filling the space, they rose up as lone sentries, forlornly devoid of most branches.
Impressive in number alone, thousands of these frail sticks soared upward to forty feet. With only a few branches per tree, extending from the very top, the canopy of needle clad limbs was sparse.
The reason? They self prune. Lower branches fall off over time leaving only the few uppers.
While rendering themselves rather unattractive, the self preservation achieved is astounding. In the violent winds of hurricane and tropical storms which hit regularly, they are able to bend at forty-five degree angles. This leaves them virtually unscathed.
The other amazing feature is their fire-proof trunks. Between a fire resistant sap and the lack of limbs for which a flame to climb, forest fires are not a threat. We saw individual charred trunks occasionally, but the black scorching was never higher than three to four feet up.
Self pruning…what an interesting concept for us. If we would self prune along the way, we could get rid of those things that hinder our walk in Christ, and allow scripture to shape us in ways we cannot fathom.
There is always work for God to do in us, but just maybe— if we would work on the pruning ourselves, God would not have to use as drastic of measures?
God promises to help us become more fruitful by amputation—which doesn’t sound very pleasant to us and may be downright painful, but in the end we bow to his wisdom and realize it enables us to grow even more.
We become emboldened in shouting our allegiance as his disciple, and we become equipped to weather any storm Satan blows our way.
John 15:2-3-He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.
-What do you need to self-prune?
-Begin with the first one and write down how you are going to do it. Start today.