Monday, September 01, 2003

The Little Apple Tree Revisited

Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this. Psalm 37:4-5

I can’t count how many times I have told the story of the “Little Apple Tree”. Though I can tell you, I have told the story in every country I’ve visited over the last seven years. Enlisting audience participation, with hats and gloves equipped with hanging stars, uproarious laughter always follows. It’s my favorite story to tell because it gives an important lesson I need reminding of:

The little apple tree did not want to be an apple tree. It was the only one of its kind in the forest of big oaks trees. Every day the little apple tree looked up and saw the branches of the oak trees reaching high into the heavens. At night when the sky was darkest the little apple tree would look to the big oak trees and see their branches filled with stars. How envious of their beauty, size and strength was the little apple tree. So the little apple tree prayed, “Dear Lord, can I please be like the big oak trees? Big, strong, tall and important with stars in my branches?” The Lord said, “Be patient.” The seasons changed through spring (blossoms) and summer (apples) but the little tree was still looking at the stars. The story ends when the apple tree shakes in fear of the Lord and an apple falls from the tree and breaks open. (horizontally when cut, the apple seeds inside form a five pointed star). The Lord said, “What do you see?” In amazement, the little apple tree said, “I see stars! I have stars in my branches!” “You see little apple tree, what your heart desired I had hidden inside you all along. I made you exactly who I wanted you to be.” From that day on the little apple tree grew proudly amidst the forest of big oak trees hiding its stars of the heart!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; …All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. Ps 139:13-16

The story is appropriate for children of all ages, in all cultures, who long and pray for a different life than the one they know. And I confess, that I have looked around at the things that I don’t have, at the lives of others and wonder “why” I couldn’t be like… the big oak trees around me? With the retelling of the story, countless times, in numerous countries, I still smile with the audience – knowing He knows what my heart desires, and I am growing in to the fullness of His likeness in me.

For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. Romans 8:29