Daily Word of Grace # 145 (October 5, 2020)

On a sunny humid summer day in 2002 I had the opportunity to visit the Survivor Tree at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, site of the tragic 1995 Oklahoma City bombing during which 168 people, including 19 children, lost their lives.  The Survivor Tree is an American Elm tree that has become a symbol of hope and resilience.  During the bombing it had most of its branches blown off, was filled with shards of glass and other debris from the explosion, and even caught fire.  Then during the ensuing investigation it was nearly cut down in order to recover every possible piece of evidence about the bombing.  And yet this tree miraculously survived, and today is a vibrant, healthy, beautiful tree.  This Survivor Tree is not only a sign of hope and resilience in times of crisis and tragedy, it is also points to another, eternal Survivor Tree, the cross.  On the cross Jesus did not survive, but rather died in our place in order to allow us to survive the deadly consequences of our sin because on the cross Jesus was cursed in our place—“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13)—so that we would not only survive, but also be blessed by God.  The cross remains the ultimate Survivor Tree, a source of hope and resilience for all of us.

Love and Prayers,