Have you ever heard a story that rocked your world? That's what happened to me recently while on vacation. Tom and I visited a local church in the area where we were staying. The speaker shared about his challenging childhood and the difficult relationship he personally had with his father. It wasn’t until he was older that God gave him insight into his own father’s upbringing that helped him extend grace. Eventually, the father/son relationship was healed.
This is the backdrop to his father’s childhood.
His father grew up poor, but he really didn't know he was poor. It was his way of life. Until the day he went to school for the first time. The little fella put on his “best” and off he went proud to be old enough to join his brothers and sisters.
When he got to school, he was met by a group of boys who laughed at his old tattered clothes and shoes. He felt something he had not fe
lt in the safety of his home—shame. Crying he turned away from the mocking words and ran. The school had to call the boy’s father to come and pick him up.
When his dad pulled up to get him, he found his young son hugging a tree. The boy clung to that tree out of hurt and shame. The words of the others had penetrated his tender heart to the point of despair. Hugging the tree gave him something firm, sure to hold on to.
This is a beautiful picture to ponder. When debilitating hurts and shame cause us to feel helpless, our Heavenly Father, provided for us a tree to cling to. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus took all the pain upon himself so that we would have peace.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:1 NKJV
What Jesus did on the cross provides for us a safe place.
So, the next time you feel the sting of your own sin or the assault of painful words—hug a tree.