Sometimes we get what we need and not what we want..........

Once there were 3 trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their
hopes & dreams when the 1st tree said, "Someday, I hope to be a treasure
chest. I could be filled with gold, silver & precious gems & be decorated
with intricate carvings. Everyone would see my beauty."

The 2nd tree said, "Someday, I will be a mighty ship. I'll take kings &
queens across the waters & sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will
feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull."

Finally, the 3rd tree said, "I want to grow to be the tallest & straightest
tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill & look up to my
branches & think of the heavens & God and how close to them I'm reaching. I
will be the greatest tree of all time, and people will always remember me."

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of
woodsmen came upon the trees. One came to the 1st tree and said, "This looks
like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a
carpenter," and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he
knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the 2nd tree, one of the other woodsman said, "This looks like a strong
tree. I should be able to sell it to the shipyard." The 2nd tree was happy,
because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the 3rd tree, the tree was frightened, because
it knew that, if it was cut down, its dreams would not come true. One of the
woodsmen said, "I don't need anything special from my tree, so I'll take
this one," and he cut it down.

When the 1st tree arrived at the carpenter's, he was made into a feed box
for animals, placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what
he had prayed for.

The 2nd tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being
a mighty ship & carrying kings had come to an end. The 3rd tree was cut into
large pieces & left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then a man &
woman came to the barn. She gave birth & they placed the baby in the hay in
the feed box that was made from the 1st tree. The man wished that he could
have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree
could feel the importance of this event & knew that it had held the greatest
treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the 2nd tree.
One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a
great storm arose, and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep
the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood & said "Peace,"
and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the
King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came & got the 3rd tree. It was carried through the
streets, and the crowd mocked the man who was carrying it. Finally, the man
was nailed to the tree & raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When
Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at
the top of the hill & be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had
been crucified on it.

THE MORAL OF THIS STORY IS THAT, WHEN THINGS DON'T SEEM TO BE GOING YOUR WAY, ALWAYS KNOW THAT GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU. IF YOU PLACE YOUR TRUST IN HIM, HE WILL GIVE YOU GREAT GIFTS. EACH OF THE TREES GOT WHAT THEY WANTED, JUST NOT IN THE WAY THEY HAD IMAGINED. WE DON'T ALWAYS KNOW WHAT GOD'S PLANS ARE FOR US. We JUST KNOW THAT HIS WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS.

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The Useless Tree

Created on 27 January 2011
When Tzu-ch'i of Nan-po was taking a stroll by the Hill of Shang, he spotted a great tree that towered above all the rest. Its branches could shelter a thousand horses and its shade would easily cover them all.

"What kind of tree is this," he thought.

"Its timber must be quite extraordinary."

But when looking up he discovered that the higher branches were too gnarled to be used for floorboards or rafters. When looking down he noticed that the trunk was too soft and pitted to be used for coffins. He licked one of the leaves and it left a burning taste in his mouth. He sniffed the bark and the odor was enough to take away his appetite for three days.

'This wretched tree is completely useless," he exclaimed,

"and this must be why it has grown so large! Aha! --this is exactly the kind of uselessness that the holy man puts to great use."
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