underneath the sheltering arms of an English plane tree, sat Mary, an only
child, and her father. It was very peaceful there. The wind stroked merry,
green leaves. The larks sang with their hearts. A little way off, a brook ran. But…the
sound that Mary loved most was her father’s voice. It was quiet and gentle,
like a reed’s song. It could also be strong and commanding; but never harsh. Mary
would only need to hold out her arms, and her father would smile as he placed
her on his lap. Then, he would read aloud from their favorite stories, including
Aesop’s Fables. As winter melted into spring, as spring flew into summer,
as summer flamed into autumn, and finally, as autumn crumbled into winter, Mary
grew into a charming young lady of nine. Her father was still her a large part
of her world; he produced much of the sunlight in it.
at one point in her childhood, there was a sharp drop in Mary’s cheerful
spirits. It happened that Mary began to think that she must earn God’s favor,
as a laborer earns the respect of his employer. Gradually, over time, Mary
added conditions to her daily activities which became very burdensome. While studying
under her tutors, Mary memorized every word that she read, twice in case. When
Mary prayed at night, she confessed wrongs such as laughing at jokes or jests.
At meals, Mary tried skipping her favorite dishes of food, an attempt at
fasting. Her father put a firm stop to that idea though. In spite of all this,
Mary still felt that her efforts were as dust. Worse, she no longer talked or
played under the plane tree with her father. Finally, Mary came to her father
and said, “Father, what is the best way of gaining God’s favor?” Her father
looked surprised. After Mary explained what she had been doing, there was a
Mary’s father looked at her rather sadly, took her into his arms, and asked her what she heard. “I can hear your heart,” Mary said. “Even
so,” her father said, “God’s heart beats with love for his children. Through His
tender pardon, each of us can be made right with God; not through burdensome
deeds.” Mary sighed, relieved and happier in the knowledge of God’s infinite
love. Then, she asked with a bright smile, “Father can we visit the plane tree
this afternoon?” Nature’s wonders were waiting.
everyone! I hope that you are having a happy Sabbath! This is partially based
on a true story, and I hope that it reminds you of God’s undying love. Please,
let me know if you have any suggestions or questions in the comment section! I
deeply appreciate your feedback.