He watched the seed fall into the cold ground, and even at that moment, He knew what great mission that little seed would one day take on.
He allowed it to soak in just enough rain to feed the sapling's needs, yet kept the rains from overtaking the little sprout or causing it's foundling roots to rot.
His eyes watched the sun shine its loving rays upon the growing tree, but watched it ever so closely so that the heat would never become unbearable or that its leaves would not become scorched.
He instructed the winds to kiss the branches and leaves every now and again, but never allowed it to be too harsh or destructive to the little tree.
Birds made their homes in the shade of its leafy branches and other animals climbed in and through the weave of its limbs yet never broke a twig large enough to cause the tree to suffer from the effects.
Bugs and worms were permitted to crawl over and around the tree, but were stopped short of diving into its bark or causing irreversible damage.
Ten or twenty trees near it may have fallen to the woodsman's ax, but the tree was protected from the blade until it was the right blade at the right time.
Not until it's time. Not until time in heaven and on earth were at the exact moment ordained from Adam and Eve's fall from grace. Not until His time on earth was finished.
He had accomplished the task set before Him by His father. Dying had been His reason for living. Dying, not only for all who lived on the earth at that particular moment, but for you and I who were but specks on an elusive vision called the future.
One tree, apart from all others that have ever grown on the face of the earth, lived to die as He did. Did our God refuse to look upon the tree that would someday hold His battered Son?
No, for if He had, the tree would not have flourished as it did. It would not have grown tall or strong enough to fulfill its own destiny.
No, I believe that Our Father looked after this tiny seed as it became the tree it was purposed to be with all the love and pride that a Father's heart can hold. Yes, He knew its eventual fate. He knew that it would someday be chosen, cut, hewn, and erected for a task so essential to the course of the world that He alone would need to oversee its development.
Did His heart ache as He watched the tree's leaves brush the ground as it fell from its original place? I'm sure it did. Just as I am certain that His precious heart shattered into a thousand pieces as He saw it standing on that forlorn hill on that Good Friday so long ago; His only son hanging from the cross that had been fashioned from its wood.
A saddened gardener became a grieving Father. Both were His own. Tree and Son. One sacrificed for the other; the other sacrificed for you and me. There can be no comparison as to which was the greater sacrifice, for nothing can be compared to the death of our Savior. But both were slain that somber day for our benefit. And God's glory can be seen in the stories of both. One story is the greatest ever told, and one that I stake my own salvation on. The other is a story which tells us what God is able to use a common, lowly seed for the glory of His kingdom, if it is left to His care and direction.