Once upon a time, there were three trees which resided on the top of a hill in the woods.
They were discussing their hopes and dreams for the future when the first tree said, “Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and other precious gems. So, I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.”
Then the second tree said, “Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.”
Finally, the third tree said, “I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.”
After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees.
When one of them came to the first tree, he said, “This tree looks like it’s very strong, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter for a very good price” … and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.
In front of the second tree, another woodsman said, “This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.” The second tree was also happy because he knew his dreams were also close to coming true.
When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was very frightened because he knew that if they cut him down, his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, “I don’t need anything special from my tree, so I’ll take this one”, and he cut it down.
When the first tree arrived at the carpenter’s workshop, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in the barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.
The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.
The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark for a long time.
The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then, one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time!
Years later, a group of men got into the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke up the sleeping man, and he stood and said “Peace” and the storm stopped. It was then that the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.
Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill.
When Sunday came, the tree came to realise that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.
Sometimes things don’t seem to be going your way. One thing we should always know is that God has a plan for each of us. If we place our trust in Him, He will give us great gifts.
Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don’t always know what God’s plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always the best and nothing but the best!
This story was submitted by Rev. I. I. Agbe
An interesting factoid about the dogwood plant (shown above) is that the cross used to crucify Jesus Christ is considered to have been made from dogwood. It is believed that Jesus made the tree dwarf after his crucifixion; twisted branches of the tree are supposed to be reminders of the miraculous process that turned a normal-sized tree into a dwarf one! Dogwood inflorescence represents the crucifixion, as it consists of four cross-shaped bracts. It is believed that each bract represents the corners of the cross, and the red stamen symbolises the crown of thorn that Jesus wore.
Image and factoids courtesy: https://www.factscrush.com/