02 January 2007

The parable of the three trees

I wish I could remember the source of this little parable. If anyone knows, please let me know. Meanwhile, it is here for your meditation on how our human will should be conformed to God's Divine Will.

Once upon a time, three great trees were growing in an ancient forest. The first tree prayed that when it was cut down, it might become part of the timbers of a noble palace, the most magnificent building ever shaped by the creative hands of men. Instead, it was faced with the bitter fact that its lovely grain was being used to throw a rude stable together. But it was the stable in which the Christ Child was born.

The second tree petitioned God that when the axe was laid to its roots, its planks might be fashioned into the hull of the greatest vessel that ever sailed the seven seas. Instead, when it was chopped down it was used to form the hull of a lowly fishing vessel, and the tree resented the insult to its grandeur. But that insignificant boat was the one from which Jesus preached His incomparable words at the edge of the little Sea of Galilee.

The third tree beseeched God that it might never feel the bite of the cruel axe, but that it might go on for years pointing its proud finger toward the sky. Instead, the dark day came when the woodsmen arrived and laid the sharp blade to its resisting roots, and it cried out against God with every blow. But the shaken tree was fated to become the Cross of Calvary, destined to point its noble finger toward the sky forever!

Not a single one of those trees lived to see its fondest wish come true. Not a single one got its deepest prayer answered, nor its own will fulfilled. But God, in fulfilling His Will for those three trees, granted them a fulfillment infinitely beyond anything they could have desired or hoped for. As each one met the axe, how hopeless it seemed – yet, what glory God worked for each of them.