Not the best way to end a week-long drought of posts, but here's a piece (which I wish I wrote) that appeared in the Sunday Star on Easter in the Heart & Soul section. Quite possibly the best I've seen them feature.
Was at first apprehensive of posting un-mine articles here, but I guess great stories are meant to be shared, regardless the source. This was sent in by an Alicia Goh, so they say.
Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. As they were discussing their hopes and dreams, the first tree said: "Some day I hope to be a treasure chest. I can be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I can be decorated with intricate carvings and everyone will see my beauty."
Then the second tree said: "Some day I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull."
Finally, the third tree said: "I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People who see me at the top of the hill will look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God, and how close I am to them. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me."
A few years after that, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. One of them looked at the first tree and said: "This looks like a strong tree ... I should be able to sell its wood to a carpenter." He began to cut it down. The tree was happy because he knew that the carpenter would turn him into a treasure chest.
At the second tree, the woodsman said: "This looks like a strong tree; I should be able to sell it to the shipyard." The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.
When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, he was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down, his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, "I don't need anything special from my tree. I'll take this one," and he cut it down.
When the first tree arrived at the carpenter's, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not what he had hoped for at all.
The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end. The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark. The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.
One day, a man and woman came into the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but the manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and 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 second 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 and said, "Peace", and the storm stopped. The tree knew then that it had carried the King of Kings.
Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as people mocked the man carrying it. When they came to a stop at the top of a hill, the man was nailed to the tree and left to die there. When Sunday came, the tree realised that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as possible because Jesus had been crucified on it.
Each of the trees got what it wanted, although not in the way it had imagined. In the same way, God's plans for us are not always our plans, but they are always the best.