The Trouble Tree and Calvary

[B]ad days happen to everyone.  Inevitable?  Unavoidable?  Yes.  Question is: do bad days have to get the best of you?  Before you answer, consider the story of the trouble tree.

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

Following a destructive summer storm a farmer hired a local carpenter to make repairs on his property.  Many things needed fixing including the barn, fences, and farmhouse.  But the first day on the job went badly for the carpenter.  The trouble began on the drive to work.  An overheated engine delayed him on the side of the road making him an hour late.  Shortly after arriving the carpenter discovered several key tools missing from his tool box forcing him to put off some work he came prepared to do.  Later in the morning his power saw broke down and became unusable.  At the end of the day a final frustration occurred.  His ancient pickup truck refused to start.

The day had gone from bad to worse.  Feeling sorry for the carpenter, the farmer offered him a ride home.  The carpenter accepted but remained stony and silent during the drive, frustrated by the difficulties of the day.

Arriving home, the carpenter quietly asked if the farmer would like to come in and meet his family.  Not wishing to appear impolite the farmer agreed.  As they approached the house the carpenter did something unusual.  Stopping for moment by a tree in the front yard he bent down and touched the base of the tree with both hands.  As he arose a deep sigh emanated from his chest.  Then the two men turned and walked up the front porch.  When he opened the door a remarkable change came over the carpenter.  A smile swelled his lips.  Joy entered his eyes.  The weariness of the day melted away as his voice grew light and lively.  There were hugs for his kids, kisses for his wife and laughter when the pet parakeet squawked a greeting from his kitchen perch.

When the visit was over, the carpenter walked out to the car with the farmer.  The farmer was amazed by the transformation in this formerly frustrated man.  As they passed by the tree the farmer turned to the carpenter and asked him what he had done earlier.

The carpenter smiled and said, “Oh, that’s my trouble tree.  You see, I’ve found that trouble is not always avoidable in my life.  Almost everyday there are frustrations that can pull me down.  Some are small, some are large.  But none deserve to come into the house with me.  So when I come home from work, I always stop by my trouble tree.  I lay all those problems down at the base of the tree knowing that when I leave the house tomorrow morning, they’ll be there and I can pick them up again.”

The farmer felt a smile spreading on his face as he realized the wisdom of the carpenter’s words.  “It’s a funny thing though,” the carpenter continued.  “I notice that when I come out of the house the next morning, I never seem to find as many problems as I remember leaving there the night before.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if you and I had a trouble tree?  A tree where we could hang our worries, frustrations and disappointments?  A place where we could lay our burdens down before they bring us down.  Actually, there is such a tree.  It’s called Calvary.  It stands on a hill at the crossroads of time.  On that tree a compassionate carpenter gave his life for yours.  And he also made an offer, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NLT)

The truth is, trouble is part of life.  Almost everyday there are problems that threaten to pull you down.  Some are small, some are not so small.  But none deserve to destroy your peace.  So take them to a trouble tree called Calvary.  It’s a place of victory where you can lay your burdens down and never pick them up again.

“God will do what is right.  He will give trouble to those who trouble you. And he will give rest to you who are troubled.”  2 Thessalonians 1:6-7 NCV


Question: How do you de-stress when you have a bad day? Have you found a good way to let out frustrations so they don’t spill over onto innocent family and friends? (Share your thoughts in the comments)


1 The story of the Trouble Tree has been around for many years and has been told in several variations.  This telling is one I adapted slightly from a version shared with me by a friend.  The anecdote I read was a first person account.  Here I decided to change the story a third person account and add a little color.  Despite extensive research I couldn’t find the origin of the Trouble Tree story.  If you know the original source please let me know.  It’s a wonderful story and I’d like to give credit where credit is due.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Richard Hickam

    I find exercise a good way to let the stressors go. Great story.

  • Richard, I couldn’t agree more. I also recommend having some solid deep breathing and stretching exercises. They can work wonders as well. And when it comes to spiritual stress and distress, it’s such a great gift to be able to use the Trouble Tree called Calvary!

    Thanks for dropping by the blog. Come by anytime!   🙂