Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Parable of Three Saplings

God had not abandoned us, even though at times it felt like it.

My husband and I, our two young sons, and two frisky dogs, were living in Grapeland, TX  The year was about 1984.  We had recently built a home on the sandy soil, great for growing peanuts, which made Grapeland famous for it's annual Peanut Festival. The soil was so sandy it took much soil amendment to grow most plants.

In those days, we only had time and money to prepare the flower bed along the front of the house.  I bought three fast growing saplings. and temporarily placed them in the bed until I could prepare their permanent spot in the yard.

A few days later, our little mutt, Binky, decided he wanted to eat tree! He bit off half of one of the trees, and another he gnawed off almost to the ground.  Bad Binky!  I trimmed the first tree with a clipper and the other... just wacked off to the ground...no hope for that one.

It was late in the winter, and my family was going through a time of severe trial, one I would never wish on anyone.  Our youngest son, Stevie had been diagnosed with leukemia, and we were struggling through all that entails: the underlying fear of, "what if this doesn't work;" the pain of seeing your child suffer through the pain of treatment; the grief of knowing you are not able to be as fully there for big brother, knowing he is suffering as well, and the helplessness to change that; the the weariness of travel every week to a medical center hours from your home and back, suffering with the little one's pain of spinal taps and bone marrow tests, then dealing with the vomiting all the way home.  These were just a few of the sorrows of that season of our life.

Suddenly Spring gave a tease, and the gorgeous weather prompted me to go dig the new homes for the young saplings.  (Digging in the dirt is great therapy for what ails me.) After preparing the beds,  I went to dig up the two remaining little trees.  The first one was looking really well.  It had lots of pretty, green leaves.  I started to dig it up, but discovered it pulled up without any effort.  I quickly transplanted it.

The second one was still looking pretty much like a stick.  It had one little leaf trying to bud out.  I gave it a tug, thinking it would easily be moved as well.  It wouldn't budge.  I started digging around it and discovered that it had grown roots twice as long as the first one and many more as well. I was astounded and remembered the scripture about pruning: John 15:2

"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit."

I got curious about the little tree that Binky had gnawed off.  Searching the ground, I found it!  There was a tiny green shoot coming forth!  I got excited and began to dig...and dig...and dig!  I could not get to the end of the roots. They extended several feet into the ground. I was absolutely unable to move that tree! 


I sat down on the ground and began to weep, overcome with the revelation I was receiving from the Lord.  


The beautiful, little tree that had been spared from damage was beautiful to look at, but had no root in itself.  This is representative of the untested life. It was growing in a way that could be seen by man, but in the secret unseen places, had no power to stay through tough times.  

The tree that had been bitten and pruned some, had developed some depth.  It was growing in the secret places, and was beginning to be seen by man.  

But the tree that had been through the most difficult trial, had been gnawed off in the most savage way, had been growing with the deepest ability to thrive and not be moved, even in the darkest times, in the places not see by anyone but God.  


I felt the arms of Love around me, and knew that no matter how hard it got,  I would survive, because my God, my husbandman, was pruning me in the most difficult way to be an oak of Righteousness in His Kingdom.  I knew, in the same way, He was bringing my family into the same victory.  And I know, dear one, that He is doing the same thing for you in your trials and testings.  


Be encouraged!  In the dark times, remember you are planted in the Kingdom of God, you will triumph and thrive!   Years later, I drove my daughter-in-love by the house in Grapeland.  The only one of my trees that survived was the the little gnawed off tree! 


Blessings, Anna Marie