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Editor’s Note: Pastor Scott Peterson is sharing daily devotions written by some of his favorite authors. The author’s biography and any notes by Pastor Scott are listed at the end of the devotion.

Love a Tree

by Gerhard Frost

I have a love affair,
a very private thing,
with one familiar oak.
It grows ten paces from our door
massive and strong and tall.

This tree comforts and encourages,
calls to me as I leave for my next class:
“If I can grow from a buried acorn,
forgotten by one absentminded squirrel,
perhaps you, too, an absentminded professor,
may say something today, and then forget,
something that may plant an oak
in the forests of humanity.”

So, I believe in acorns;
this is a part of my teacher’s creed.

Unique among our trees,
this oak speaks.
It speaks of power and age,
and deep, deep roots;
but, most of all, it tells of suffering,
in its most stark and visible feature:
no major branch grows toward the east!

In some harsh moment of a long and testing past
my tree has felt disaster,
such force of tragedy that it must live its years
without the slightest symmetry.

Distorted, bent, unyielding in every wind
it wrenches at its roots,
but holds and stands to greet the dying winds
that mark the end of the storm.
This special tree,
I name it Job.

Gerhard Frost (1909 – 1988) was a Lutheran Pastor, a college and seminary professor, and a poet.  A student and friend of his described him this way, “…beloved by all who knew him. He had a Lincolnesque combination of strength and quietness about him.”  That is an apt description of Gerhard Frost when I met him in 1978.  As a guest speaker, he read his poetry at my internship congregation, Immanuel Lutheran Church, in Wadena, MN.

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