The Hope of a Tree

📅 March 30, 2020

Plants and the lessons we learn from them appear from Genesis 1:12 where “the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit…” right through to the “tree of life” in Revelation 22:14.

Consider Elijah and the juniper tree, Jonah and his gourd, David and the mulberry trees, Hezekiah and the figs, Jesus and the mustard seed and the lilies of the field.

There is this: Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters…” [Jeremiah 17:7]

And this: “For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth , and the stock thereof die in the ground yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.” [Job 14:7-9]

Years ago I had a magnificent jade plant, which was very dear to me. My mother had brought a cutting home from my grandmother’s jade in California. I loved the plant mostly for that reason. I loved the person to whom it first belonged.

Planted and repotted many times as it grew, the jade had grown to enormous proportions: 3 feet high, with a branch spread at least that wide. 

One day I decided the black plastic pot it was in was not befitting its dignity and beauty. I repotted it in a clay pot. The next morning, I was heartsick to see it had wilted. Bent under its own great weight, heavy branches drooping, the lovely waxy leaves had littered the porch.

Lamenting my mistake, I determined to restore it. Possible?  

Prop it up, I thought. I found sticks in the yard, stuck them deep into the soil, and used string to tie the branches to the sticks. But the dead sticks could not bear the weight of the branches, some of which were two inches thick.

Something stronger was required. My eye fell on the wrought iron “column” at the corner of my porch. Decorative only, it did not support the weight of the roof, but bolted into the concrete as it was, it would bear the weight of my plant.

Gently, I nudged the plant next to the wrought iron column. Using the string, I gently lifted the sagging branches and tied them one by one to the sturdy iron.

With its weight supported, the plant could concentrate on healing itself, letting its roots take hold, and bear its weight once more.  

And it did.

We, as parents, are not only trying to rear children. We are also bearing the weight of our employment, home, finances, perhaps our extended family, and other cares and responsibilities.  

When some sudden or gradual change causes you to sag under the weight you are bearing, be advised: “dead sticks” will not prop you up.

Bind yourself to something that will hold. Make God your refuge. [Deuteronomy 33:27] Rest in His everlasting arms, while you heal…and then continue to grow.

If this story does not relate to you, but to your child or indeed anyone you love, the advice still stands.

There is hope of a tree.   


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Holly Bebernitz

Native Texan Holly Bebernitz moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1967. After thirty years of teaching speech, English, and history on the secondary and college levels, she retired from classroom teaching to become a full-time grandmother. The change in schedule allowed the time needed to complete the novel she had begun writing in 1998. When Trevorode the Defender was published in March 2013, the author realized the story of the Magnolia Arms was not yet complete.


Semi-Finalist - 2021 Royal Palm Literary Award Competition - Florida Writer's Association