Congregation on Call
Who Made the Trees?
By Claire Ryan
“Who made the trees? Did you make all the trees?”
He smiled gently, having answered the young girl’s question many times already. “No, child. Remember, I merely planted the seeds I was given. God did the rest.”
The little girl nodded. “God did the rest. God made the trees.”
The man squeezed his granddaughter’s hand gently, “And each one of them has a name. Just like me and you.”
She turned her wide eyes upward, smiling broadly, “All of them?”
The two walked together, hand in hand, through the vast grove of trees as the grandfather discussed the name of each.
The tallest was named Upright for her honorable nature and the way she unfailingly pointed to the heavens.
One tree looked burdened, beaten down with withered branches and aged wood. Yet, he still stood, enduring all of life’s battles. For this, he was called Resilient.
Another tree had incredible, overarching branches, thick with leaves and moss. Any who sought Safe Haven, need only rest under her protective arms.
Then there was Longevity, a seemingly ageless tree with deep roots and a strong foundation.
The largest was called Life Giving, for within his mighty roots and throughout his vast wood flowed a multitude of pure, plentiful oxygen.
One tree was filled with an abundance of oranges, their lively color standing out against the stark green of leaves. Her name was Bears Fruit.
There were other smaller trees, still growing and changing, in the early years of their life. The ever-growing glade, the grandfather called them.
These smaller trees leaned on a bigger tree: Support. She helped the smaller ones stay in line as they grew. Her long branches extended across the grove, providing a motherly embrace.
On the edge of the grove stood lonely trees, susceptible to drought or the terrors of a storm. This was home to trees called Grounded and Firmly Planted, whose roots were so thick and widespread no amount of wind could uproot them, or sun could parch them.
Nearby, were Stability and Sturdy, whose growth were disrupted by an earthquake long ago. They perched precariously on a steep edge, but instead of giving way, their roots grew down the steep wall and into the ground below, safely securing their trunks.
After a while, they reached the end of the grove. The grandfather stopped. He knelt until he was eye level with the girl, took her gently by the shoulders, and held her gaze. “You see, child, each of these trees represent our lives in this world as children of God.” He pointed to her chest, “You and me? We are the seeds God has planted into this world.”
She stared at his face, listening intently.
“You are to be Upright: honest, honorable, and always Pointing to Christ. This life will bring you trials and tribulation; you must be Resilient against its temptations; you must Endure its painful arrows. You are called to be a Safe Haven, a wall of Protection and filled with love for the poor, the needy, and the lost. Your life must exhibit Longevity; a life Firmly Planted, Deeply Rooted, and Grounded in Truth.”
The girl nodded; her brow furrowed in innocent concern.
“Oh, child,” he continued softly, “Your words and your actions must be Life Giving; every breath must magnify your Maker so you are one who Bears Fruit. Through Christ working in you, others may receive His pure, plentiful, grace. Like the young trees, you must be Ever Growing in your knowledge of Christ, your love for Him, and your drive to be more like Him every day. You are to Support those around you—but not just those around you. Your support must Extend to the ends of the Earth, for He has called you higher and He is worthy of that calling. You are to have Stability when the snares of evil try to destroy your foundation, your faith. You are to be Sturdy when confronted by mockery and deceit or when you are told your faith is a lie.”
Tears began to well in the little girl’s eyes. A nervous hand rested across her lips, as if to stifle a sob.
“Oh, but child,” The grandfather whispered. “You are not alone. Remember who made the trees?”
The girl sniffled, blinking away the tears. Her hand dropped. “God made the trees.”
“God made the trees,” he repeated, “and He has created them with everything necessary to stand firmly in this life. He strengthens them to withstand what could weaken them.” He kissed her forehead. “And He has created you in the same way. In your weakness, He is strong.”
The grandfather stood. The girl’s eyes followed him all the way up. She raised her hands, and he lifted her into his arms. Together, they stared back at the trees, swaying softly in the afternoon breeze.
“I pray these trees over you every day.” The grandfather said. “In your waking. In your sleeping. In your coming. In your going. In your present and in your future.”
“When I’m playing?” She asked quietly.
He chuckled. “Yes, even when you’re playing.” With her in his arms, he turned from the grove and began walking down the hill.
The girl looked back in deep thought. Then she looked up at her grandfather. “Who made the playground?” She asked.
His laughter echoed through the beautiful grove behind them.
About the Author: A 2017 graduate of Welch College, Claire Ryan teaches at Cheatham County Central High School in Ashland City, Tennessee. Read more articles like this at ShineFWB.com.