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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Prosperity (05/11/06)

TITLE: Just Ask A Tree
By Lynda Schultz


Oooooh. Ouch. Yikes.

He reached upward, pushing against the darkness that had closed in and surrounded him from the very moment in time when, at last, he had managed to escape his pod. His progress was slow and painful. His skin had protected him for a long time, but since his “coming out” celebration, he had been left exposed to all the brutality of an unfriendly environment.

Ooof, that smarts.

He inched around a rock embedded deep into the earth; his tender white shoot cringing from contact with rough stoney edges.

Come on, you can do it. Push, baby, push. PUSH!

All of a sudden, all resistance ceased. He had broken through to the surface. Something tickled, gently pushing him back and forth. Somehow there was a sense that here lurked no threat of suffocating shale or wiggling worm. He was crowned with warmth and dryness where cold and dank had reigned for so, so long.

Rest. Gotta rest a bit. Coming out is tough. Need a nap…

But napping wasn’t part of the plan. Tired or not, the little shoot, inspired by forces beyond himself, began to move again. From below, his feet clawed downward, deeper into the soil. And his tender little head reached for the sky, yearning for the sun.

The frail plant was soon to learn that the danger already encountered and overcome below the ground, was nothing compared to what lay in wait above ground. Half downed, he choked and sputtered during heavy spring rains. Monsters alighted on his head and attacked by hoof, foot and fang. And then, through the sultry summer, a friend turned foe …

How can you treat me so? You warmed my meager being not long ago and now your heat consumes me, hurts me, leaves me breathless and wilted. Why?

With supernatural strength, the sapling reached down again, stretching his feet; sucking in through his toes whatever dampness he could find, until …

Oooooh, that feels so good; like damp, but more so. Come on in, delightful deliciousness, and fill my sapped sapling self.

With the entrance of the water he had found as his roots reached down and out, the now-not-so-little shoot raised his head and stretched his arms. The friendly fire of the sun smiled on his brilliant green adolescence and promised peace between them.

Summers faded and then flourished once again. The sapling fleshed out; growing strong nourished by the water and warmed by the sun. He was big enough now to remain unmoved by passing animals that brushed up against him. Birds perched in his branches, but didn’t yet stay to nest. Two-footed creatures walked around him rather than over him. He stood tall and straight.

How odd. Others of my kind have cracked the surface of the earth and grown but now they lie beaten and broken on the ground, lifeless and dry. Why do I remain here, supple and strong, when others die? I prosper, and they do not.

This conundrum of creation haunted the young tree. He couldn’t see below the rich, black soil that held his feet firmly planted. He could only feel the juicy wetness that seeped into his roots from the stream nearby; that unfailingly carried to his great heart the nutrients he required to be strong when he needed to be, and to bend when he had to.

As the seasons passed, the emerald green of his leaves matured and darkened. His arms became strong enough to shelter nests and generations of baby birds were launched from those branches. He took in boarders as squirrels built their homes within his body. He quietly and patiently endured the persistent battering suffered at the beaks of a family of woodpeckers. They all prospered because he prospered.

I am content. I have fought my way up from the earth, battled all my foes, resisted all the elements, been both beautiful and useful. Life is good.

The tree stretched his feet, moving deeper yet into the soil of the riverbank; an old habit, but something he never took for granted. For with the passage of time, he had come to understand that the abundance of his life was indelibly connected with that stream. He reached down and took another drink.

“Blessed is the man … [whose] delight is in the law of the Lord … He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3 NIV)

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This article has been read 1467 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/19/06
Great title, very creative story, and I love this line: "...his life was indelibly connected with that stream..."
Jessica Schmit05/19/06
Goodness! Such creativity! Very well written. I would've thought you had personal experiance with this. Your message was clear and right on target. Very very good job!
Helen Paynter05/20/06
Great job. You made me sympathise with a tree! Really brought Psalm 1 to life.
Sherry Wendling05/20/06
Fantastic! Immensely creative, beautifully written...I could feel the metaphor come to life in my spirit. Especially satisfying is the picture of the tree's prosperity being shared with the other creatures. A winner in my book!
Dolores Stohler05/21/06
What a beautiful piece of writing! And, being a children's writer, I kept thinking you should write this up for the picture book crowd. Imagine being able to identify with a tree, I'm sure God does.
Leslie Lamb05/21/06
Ingenious personification! Well done.
Joe Moreland05/21/06
I love, especially, how you so perfectly illustrate that a tree does not only grow "up", but also down into the soil around it. Your description of how the sun scorched the tree until it found root in the proper soil, and then the sun was a benefit is a great metaphor of our Christian walk. There are a great many things in the world that can be a tremendous blessing to us, IF we have our roots in Christ. Otherwise we are likely to become another part of this scorched earth. Great job! Thank you for writing and sharing it with us.
Joanne Malley05/22/06
Beautiful. I love how you hinted to our connection to the Lord as compared to the tree's connection to the stream. Great job!
Pat Guy 05/22/06
Wow! Such a poignant message written so creativly! One to ponder and not forget. A great devotional to start my day. Thank you!
Teri Wilson05/22/06
Very nice job Lynda!
Ann Grover05/22/06
Wonderfully done. A vivid reminder of the Source of our strength... and that our roots should be deep even as we reach for the Son.
George Parler 05/22/06
A tree is a very unique creation. And your creativity did a wonderful job of connecting us to natures gift. Nice job.
Venice Kichura05/22/06
First-rate job on Psalm 1, one of my favorite passages!

Very Creative job, Lynda!
Anita Neuman05/22/06
I love your illustration of this passage. Such a vital truth! You've done a great job of entertaining and teaching at the same time.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/23/06
This is wonderful. So creative using a tree to describe life, survival, and prosperity. Beautifully written.
Marilyn Schnepp 05/23/06
Almost, but not quite; I am speaking of my favorite poem of all time..."Trees", and your entry is "almost, but not quite" as good! That is a compliment indeed! Great job.
Val Clark05/23/06
Bible verse exegeted in a most fascinating and entertaining way.
Rita Garcia05/23/06
Love it! Creative and the message strong!
Beth Muehlhausen05/23/06
Loved the whole thing, but this paragraph especially grabbed me: "This conundrum of creation haunted the young tree. He couldn’t see below the rich, black soil that held his feet firmly planted. He could only feel the juicy wetness that seeped into his roots from the stream nearby; that unfailingly carried to his great heart the nutrients he required to be strong when he needed to be, and to bend when he had to."
Cassie Memmer05/24/06
Wonderful take on this biblical analogy. Very well written. Lovely!
Rachel Rudd 05/25/06
Congratulations, Lynda! What a wonderful story! I'm going to send it to my parents, the perpetual gardeners!
Joanne Malley05/25/06
Congrats! I'm back to say I loved it. :)
Helen Paynter05/25/06
Congratulations, Lynda. Very well deserved
Suzanne R05/25/06
CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I love this piece - the words you've used, the message and all - it's excellent!
Edy T Johnson 05/25/06
Congratulations, dear friend! I'm thrilled to see your name in first place and on the Editors' Choice list. Now you will be up where you belong, jogging with the Masters! God bless you with all of His best!
Sherry Wendling05/25/06
Congratulations, Lynda! This exquisite piece has been stuck in my heart all week. A wellllll-deserved win! And now you're right where you should be: a Master FW!
Rod Loche05/25/06
This is just wonderful. I am truly inspired by the brilliant use of detail displayed in this story. I didn't read all of the entries but I am most certain your win is well deserved. I am somewhat new to Faithwriters but writings like this make me glad I became a part of it.
Brenda Craig06/30/06
I just came upon this wonderful story by no accident. It is so beautiful and poetic in nature. I loved it. What a wonderful descriptive analogy, parable like in nature. May we find ourselves so connected to Him. Blessings and a late Congratulations.