Reading: Psalm 1
A little tree was born one day. He didn’t remember being planted as a seed, or the long sleep he had during the winter months. He just knew that one day he was awake. He looked up and saw the Spring sun shining on him. He looked down and saw water running nearby. He looked around and saw fields and meadows. What a lovely place to call his home!
He looked across the stream and saw a large, stately tree. “Good morning,” it told him in a smiling voice. “It’s good to see you growing there! I was hoping another tree would grow nearby when I scattered my seeds last fall. I was hoping one of them would become a baby tree that I could watch and love.” The big tree was proud of the little tree. It bent over as far as it could across the stream and said, “Grow, my little tree! Try to grow as big and strong as you can!”
The little tree noticed that the birds nested in the big tree across the stream. It noticed that animals rested under its shade. It noticed that the big tree was beautiful and strong. Oh, how it hoped to give beauty, life, and help to the world someday also!
The little tree grew. It stretched its arms to the sun. It dug its roots down into the stream as far as they could go. It was thankful for the sun and the water. Then a bird started building a nest in it. What a nice thing that was! He enjoyed watching the bird build a nest and tend to its eggs. He felt so useful to the bird family.
But one day a thunderstorm came. The heavy rain and strong wind lashed at the little tree. It was scared. “What will happen to me?” the little tree thought.
When the storm was over, the little tree noticed with dismay that one of his branches, his best branch, was broken. The bird’s nest had been blown down by the wind and the bird family was gone. How disappointed he was! He felt so ugly and useless. The little tree was dismayed. He stopped drinking water. He stopped reaching for the sun. He could feel his legs drying up and shriveling. He could feel his leaves yellowing and dropping. He watched the leaves swirl in the stream.
Then he heard the voice of the larger tree across the water. “What is wrong, little tree?’
He told the big tree how he was feeling. “I’m so little and weak. How can this be happening when I haven’t grown very much yet? How unfair life is!”
The big tree nodded in the breeze. “I felt that way once also,” it said. “I remember being a little tree just like you. I remember how terrible my first thunderstorm felt. I lost two large branches that day.”
“How can that be?” asked the little tree. “You’re so big and strong now. How did you survive such a terrible storm and grow so much?”
“I’ve been planted firmly here by the stream,” said the big tree. “Just like you, my feet go deep into the water and my face receives plenty of sunshine. Perhaps I have had losses in the worst of times, but I soon overcame them. I have never given up on all the provision and care afforded to me, so I’ve been able to grow in spite of my losses. And I have never forgotten that the creatures here need me, and the land needs me. There is beauty and strength and goodness in me. I remember that whenever the storms come.
“Can you do that, little tree? Can you look past the storm and remember all the goodness you have been given? Can you look past your hurt and remember that there is work for you to do?”
The little tree nodded in the breeze also. “Yes, yes I can!” he said.
For Further Study:
Do you know that David, the shepherd and king of the Israelites, wrote many of the Psalms? Do you remember the life of David? David was not a perfect man. Can you think of some of the things he did wrong? But God used to David to write the Psalms. Some of the Psalms are very joyful, some are sorrowful, and in some of them David talks about his fears. Read Psalm 5:1-2; 7:1-2; and 9:1-2. They each express different emotions. I often read the Psalms when I feel sadness, fear, or joy. God wants us to go to Him with all of our feelings, all our ups and downs, just as David did.
What does a plant need to grow and be strong? What does a human need to grow and be strong? What does your soul need to grow and be strong? God provides for all of these things! Praise God for His provision!