A tree once stood on a hill not far from the city. It was strong, big and beautiful. Its branches stretched upward toward heaven.
The tree continued to grow lifting its branches wide for its Creator to see. This tree knew Who had created the world and all things great and small and he was a part of God’s beautiful world.
When the sun shone this strong beautiful tree would stand tall and sing with joy. When the rains came and the winds blew he would sway and clap his leaves giving thanks for living water. This was his calling. He knew this was why he was created.
One day he heard much activity in his part of the forest. He heard men talking loudly, shouting to one another. What were these men shouting about? The next thing he heard was unthinkable. The men were cutting down the biggest, strongest and most beautiful trees with their axes. He was not prepared when the ax began to strike against his own trunk. Before he knew it, he fell to the ground with a great thud.
Along with the other strong beautiful trees he was carried off to the city and cut up into long and short blocks of wood. He thought, “What has happened to me? I can’t sing for joy anymore. I can’t clap my hands. I can’t spread out my branches to my Creator!”
The tree lay in a pile for a long time and then one day he heard different voices coming to pick him up. He wondered, “What good am I in this crude shape? I’m not smooth for a chest or a door post. I’m covered with fine splinters all over my blocks of wood. I’m not good for anything. I’m not fine at all and I’m no longer strong and beautiful.”
He felt himself taken up to a hill side outside the city. It wasn’t a pretty hill at all. It was really just a garbage dump. “Oh, why am I here,” he thought. “I don’t understand what’s happening at all. I can’t live again, never praise my Creator, never clap my hands. Was I destroyed for this?”
Off in the distance he heard a mob. Angry voices. Closer and closer they came. The voices were shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! We have no king but Caesar!”
Soldiers took a long block of my tree and put it in the ground. Another block was used as a cross beam. Then, a man was nailed to me! Me…the one who was once strong and beautiful had now become an instrument of ugliness and death. I thought I was created to be strong and beautiful, but look at me now…I’m covered in blood. “Oh, my Creator, please help me understand.”
In the darkness that covered the earth and in the quietness that followed, I heard the still small voice of my Creator saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. He has obeyed me to die for the sins of mankind. You were chosen to hold my Son in His death, high in the air. You, who were strong and beautiful, were chosen to hold a beautiful Savior. The Redeemer. The King of kings and Lord of lords. You were created for this moment. Yes, you once stood tall in the forest. Yes, you were strong and beautiful, but you stand taller now and even more beautiful to Me because you now hold my Son.
I make a promise to you now. Your ancestors, in a different way, will live again. They, too, will be beautiful. A different kind of beauty. In the spring time they will bloom with beautiful flowers to remind the world that my Son lives. He will die, but I will raise Him from the tomb. Those who believe in Him will also live. Well done, my good and faithful creation. You have made me proud that I made you to grow on a hill, strong and beautiful. You praised me, gave thanks to me and I’ll remember you as long as the earth stands…especially in the spring time.”
~Written by my mother, Vivia S. Mattox. I love you, Mom.