I love it when God speaks through secular artists.
The Pixies have some strange songs. One begins with the lines,
“Meet me by the coppice stool
Before the sky takes back its jewels
Bring your life of memories
Before they sink into the seas.”
There were two or three interesting thoughts in here, but it was the first line that spoke to me. “Meet me by the coppice stool.” What on earth is a “coppice stool”?
Some years ago, Father really challenged me from the parable of the fig tree in Luke 13:
"A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. "Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' "But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 'And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.' " [Luke 13:6-9]
Honestly, the story scared me. Since he was talking about my life, he was talking about cutting me down! What’s up with that? I was serving Him as hard as I could!
(By the way, if you ever find yourself asking “why is there so much crap going on in my life?” remember that manure was the fertilizer that Jesus was speaking about digging into the life of the fig tree.)
I meditated on the parable, of course. Then one day, while I was driving, I saw a piece of property where the owner had cut down some trees, but the stump was sprouting again. Even the logs stacked next to the stump were sprouting, and I realized, that must be how fig trees work.
So I googled it, and found it’s true: you can’t actually kill a fig tree by cutting it down. When you cut a fig tree down, you give the tree a fresh start, several fresh starts, actually. Because within several months of cutting down the tree, you’ll have several new trees sprouting from the same roots, surrounding the trunk. Instead of one old, slow-growing tree, you’ll have several young, vigorously growing trees.
This method of extreme pruning is called “coppicing.” And that dead stump, surrounded by live trees from the same roots, is called a “coppice stool.” It’s a recognized forest management technique. “As coppiced trees already have a fully developed root system, regrowth is rapid.” In fact, “trees which are periodically cut tend to live longer.” (http://www.coppice.co.uk/)
So one reason that God may cut someone off at the roots is to extend both the breadth and length of their ministry. Another reason may be to bring back “the joy of my salvation” to saints that have grown weary or complacent.
So if you’re feeling like God is cutting you down (or just digging crap into your life), take heart: he’s preparing you for growth and expansion.