God has unique plan for each of us

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 26, 2009

One night, a young man had an unusual dream about a forest of big and little trees, older and younger trees. It seems the young man heard three young trees talking about what they wanted to become when they grew taller.

The first tree said, “I don’t want to live in the forest forever. I would like to be a baby’s cradle. I’ve seen people traveling through these woods with their little ones. When I grow up, I want to be made into a cradle for a special baby.”

The second tree spoke up, “I’d want to be more important than that. I want to be a big ship crossing the ocean with valuable cargo and important people on board.”

Standing quietly in deep thought, the third tree replied, “All I want to do is stand on a hillside and point people to God. There’s nothing better a tree can do than inspire people to look up to God.”

Years passed and the trees grew to be tall, beautiful timber. Then, one day, men with axes and saws came to the forest and cut down the first little tree. But instead of being carved into a comfy cradle, its rough pieces of lumber were used to build a trough to hold hay for cattle in a stable. The sad little tree said, “This isn’t what I wanted to be. I’ll never see any babies in this place.”

Then a special event happened in that stable in Bethlehem. Shepherds came and “found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in a manger,” that crude trough (Luke 2:16). The little tree thought, “I’m part of a miracle. I can’t believe I’m holding such a special baby.”

A few years later, the second tree in the forest was cut down. “I’ve waited a long time to be made into a large ship,” the tree thought. But the tree was unhappy because its wood formed a small boat, owned by a Galilean fisherman named Peter.

The boat was anchored one day at the edge of a lake where Peter had fished all night without catching anything. The second tree wished it could have stayed in the forest, until a Man standing on the shore told Peter to let down the nets again. The catch nearly broke the nets and almost sank the ship.

Jesus invited Peter to follow Him and then He sat down in the boat to teach the multitude on the shore. The second tree said, “I’m part of a miracle. I never thought I’d carry a person like this.”

A couple of more years went by and men came to the forest to cut down the third tree. This tree was sawed in pieces and nailed together to form a cross. “I wanted to stand tall and point people to God,” the tree sighed. “I never wanted someone to be hung on me to die.” One day, outside Jerusalem, soldiers nailed Jesus to that cross while a crowd watched. Despite the agony and shame of the cross, the third tree thought, “I’m part of a miracle. I am pointing people to God.”

The young man awoke with the realization that God has a plan and purpose for every life. Your life is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.