A long time ago, in a thick forest upon the hills of central Palestine there stood two trees, side by side. One was a venerable cedar of great height and girth. The other was a young pine, merely twenty-five feet tall. They did not judge or condemn each other. After all, they were neighbors.
Unbeknownst to people, trees care about each other,can sense good and evil, and long to be of good use before they turn to dust. Some trees had been taken from the forest to become buildings and furniture. Others were taken for firewood; providing warmth for people. This wasnít as glorious an end as becoming a chair or a cabinet, but it still served people, and that was good.
One day a man entered the forest looking for a special tree. He was a young carpenter from Nazareth named Jesus. He had been here many times before. The trees could all sense him as he walked through the woods. His joy was immense. He truly loved the plants and animals of the forest. His heart had the innocence of a young child as it adored every living thing.
The carpenter came up to the cedar, eyeing its lofty spires. He smiled broad and bright then reached out to touch the cedarís bark. The cedar could feel his love for it. It knew the cutting and the changes to come would not hurt too much because it would be in the hands of its creator. Today was a wonderful day!
Back at the carpenterís home it rejoiced in knowing the goodness of its destiny. Its creator had a plan for it and was working with it, forming it into a good purpose! No greater fate could a tree have received. Finally, it was done. It was now a beautiful table that could serve more than a dozen people!
Ten years later, the pine had grown strong and tall in its open space. It had hoped for the carpenter to choose it one day, but years had passed since last he walked among these trees.
One day Roman slaves came and brutally chopped down the pine. It was hauled to a large city and thrown in a pile with hundreds of other pines. It despaired; knowing it would be used for some dark and evil purpose. Months later, after the winter cold had faded, it was pulled from the pile and cut into a long beam. It was cut into two sections, one much longer than the other. As the woodworker attached the short piece across the longer piece he drew a splinter into his hand and cursed it.
The next morning it was brought to a place where a man covered in blood was told to carry it. The pine knew the man. It was that carpenter who loved the forest. It was its creator! The pine still knew it was on an evil mission, but how was this carpenter involved?
As he carried the pine cross, the fate and blood of the carpenter seeped into the pineís wood. It was to be used to put this man to death; not just any man, but this most wonderful of men. The pine felt ashamed.
Tired, beaten, and bloodied, the carpenter could not carry the cross all the way and needed help from another man. Eventually they carried it to the top of a hill where two other crosses were standing; each with a man hanging from it. The pine wished it could instantly turn to dust. It could not.
The sweet and loving carpenter was laid across the beam with arms stretched out by Roman soldiers. Spikes were driven into his hands and feet, piercing the pine, also. The pine cross was raised into place and the carpenter hung from it. When the man died, the tree knew that no worse fate had ever come to a tree in the history of the world.
However, two days after the body was removed, the pine sensed a new beginning. The manís blood that had soaked deep into its grain had come alive. It knew the carpenter was alive again! The tree had been used for something good; something great and triumphant! The pine tree rejoiced as it realized what had been intended for evil had been turned into the defeat of all evil. No greater destiny could a tree have had. It had been used to start the Lordís church.
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