15 Mar 2022

Lenten Devotional, Day 12, Trouble Tree (episode 72)

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Well today, was just another absolutely beautiful day in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The temperature was moderate, the bird’s and squirrels were abundantly active. I even saw my first scuffle between Robins. This was most likely male-to-male aggression as birds begin establishing their territory. That’s a common phenomenon to expect in the spring.

The way to spot this is to watch for two bird’s physically and vocally going after each other hard, until one peels away and flies off. I count on the one left behind becoming the new sheriff in town.

One of the miraculous wonders of sitting in nature everyday is how worries have a way of diminishing or sometimes completely evaporating.  I’m remind of an old story called the “Trouble Tree”. The origins and author of this story are unknown. It goes like this…

The carpenter who was hired to help a man restore an old farmhouse had just finished his first day on the job and everything that could possibly go wrong did. First of all,  he had a flat tire that cost him an hour’s worth of pay, then his electric saw broke, and after work his old pickup truck refused to start.

His new boss volunteered to give him a lift home and the whole way to his house the carpenter sat in stony silence as he stared out his window. Yet on arriving, he invited his boss in for a few minutes to meet his family. As they walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When he opened the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was one big smile as he hugged his two small children and kissed his wife.

Afterwards, the man walked his boss to his car to say thank you. Now on their way out of the house, the boss’ curiosity got the best of him so he had to ask the man about the tree on the front porch. He said, I noticed when you came up on the porch before going into your house you stopped and touched the tree, why?

“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t stop from having troubles out on the job, but one thing’s for sure – my troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.”

“Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick ‘em up, they aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

When I go to my sit spot, I have a similar experience as the carpenter. But, even if I did not have a sit spot, I have a trouble tree that I can reach out and touch anytime. My trouble tree is the cross of Jesus Christ. I can come to the cross and lay my burdens down and the Lord will replace them.

Jesus is record in Matthew  11:28-30 saying, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Questions: What right now do you need to bring to the cross? What worries are you bearing? Do you have a time and a place you go to on regular basis to let go of your stressors in prayer?

A Collect for Release from Troubles: Holy God, who offers rest for our souls, hear now our plaintive cry for freedom from our burdens and grant us your yoke and burden which is easy and light, so that we might  joyously serve you, in Jesus name we pray these things. Amen.


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