In a dark dense forest at the foot of a mountain range, three tall pine trees dared to dream.
The first tall tree had grown wide, strong and sturdy. His impressive size was admired by all the other trees in the forest. This tree spoke confidently to God, “Father I am a leader among my peers, let me be selected by a boat maker who will make me into a sailing ship, carrying captains, admirals and explorers of the Sea.”
The second tall tree prayed to God, “Lord, now that I have grown tall and my bark is beautiful, I want my trunk to be used by the finest artisan in the land. One who appreciates my beauty and will artfully make of me a chest, grand and pleasing to the eye. I pray it will be my purpose to carry riches and precious treasures.”
The third tall tree made her request to the Lord. “God, may it be Your will that I continue to grow even taller, to reach greater heights with my graceful branches reaching far and wide. I envision Your children seeing me, looking upward to take in all of my grandeur. With eyes to the heavens ordinary people will be transformed by Your Divine creation.
The day came soon when a woodcutter came to the forest near the foot of the mountain range, after the three pine trees made their prayers known to God. This hale and hearty man set his eyes upon the first tree and was pleased with its width and strength. “This tree will be perfect for my customer who is building a boat.” He said. The woodcutter spent hours chipping away at the sturdy tree trunk until it fell expertly in the forest. He then cut thick planks of wood, piled them on his wagon and carted the tall pine out of the forest to the edge of a riverbank where a hardworking boat builder made a simple river barge from the strong and sturdy pine tree.
Some weeks later the woodcutter returned to the forest near the foot of the mountain range and saw the tall tree with the beautiful bark. He thought to himself, “I have someone who would buy the wood from this beautiful tree.” With sure-handed swipes from his sharp axe, the tree was felled, chopped into planks of wood and placed in his cart. The woodcutter traveled farther away from the forest this time. He went out to where fields replaced forest, the land was flat and the mountain range was now far off in a distant vista.
He stopped at a modest farm. A farmer and his wife with their seven children of all ages came out to greet the woodcutter. They were excited to get the delivery of the beautiful wood. They would soon build a new pig trough for the barn.
It was many months before the woodcutter came back to the forest and this time he brought a helper. The last remaining tree who dared to dream was praying that the she would be overlooked. But in fact, it was specifically her the woodcutter had come back for. The tree was so tall with so many branches, it would take two able-bodied men to take her down. And so they did. With tears of sorrow dripping from her thin pine needles, the tall tree was certain her dream was over. Her branches were clipped, her trunk chopped and only a stump remained in the spot where she once prayed to bring people closer to God. Back in town where the woodcutter lived, her wood planks were left stacked in a pile behind his old weathered hut.
One day after a long journey, as the old pine barge was resting at its mooring, a regiment of war-weary soldiers stumbled to the bank of the river. “Glory be!” said the Captain. “God has answered our prayers and delivered us a river barge.” The men climbed aboard and sailed down the river where the soldiers surprised and defeated their enemies, defending the kingdom and making peace for the people. God had answered the prayers of the strong and sturdy tall tree.
The pig trough lived its years in the barn in dutiful service to the farmer and his large family. One cold spring day tragedy came to the farm. The farmer’s wife died. She was a good woman; kind, generous and loving. The farmer and the seven children were heart-broken. She was deeply loved by all, a woman of valor, a jewel and a treasure. The family set about to make plans for her burial. They found a plot of land on a high sunny spot on the southwest corner of the field directly behind the farmhouse. It was perfect.
It was a lean season and there wasn’t any wood to spare for a casket. The oldest son spotted the dependable pig trough and thought about the years of sustenance the trough provided for their livestock, the backbone of the family’s farm. He drained and cleaned the rectangular wooden box. He sanded the rough planks and was shocked to see the gorgeous grain the wood now revealed. The tall tree with the beautiful bark fulfilled its destiny and was returned to the earth protecting the family’s most precious treasure.
The woodcutter never did find a buyer for the grandiose pile of wood behind his hut. Instead the wood seasoned year after year, through harsh winters and hot summers until one day the neglected pile of wood caught the eye of a young man. This young man was a humble servant of God. He was infused with a holy spirit and he dreamt only of sharing God’s glory.
His plan was to build a house of worship. But not just any ordinary building. He wanted to erect a living monument to the Lord where people could be transformed by the almighty presence of God. The tallest of the tall trees found her partner in the humble man. Together they built a House of God in a clearing in the forest. It was a towering structure taller than the trees that formed a ring around it. Surely it was a dwelling place of God. Word spread fast among the people of the land and thousands made pilgrimage to the tall pine chapel in the woods, where they were reminded of miracle of God’s creation and thus transformed.
And so it is for you, when you dare to dream, and you pray to God, and you wait patiently for your prayers to be answered.
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