This afternoon I couldn’t get my mind off of that idea or lesson learned from oak trees. Particularly that verse that speaks of being an oak of righteousness. In Isaiah 61:3 it says They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
You know if you’ve been raised in church or have at least spent some time in church – you can hear a verse a million times and then you hear it again as if for the first time. This was the case with this verse. The occasion – a Pastor’s Wife retreat in Columbus, Texas that my sister-in-law, Jimmie, and I attended. We had retreated to the room following lunch to rest before the evening services. We both spent time reading and praying and asking for something new from God. Well – I was lead to that particular verse and when I read it – I also had this picture of Jesus playing hide and seek with me. Weird huh? I told Jimmie about it and her eyes grew wide because she too had been reading that same verse and felt like I was to seek the Lord while He may be found with the faith of a little child. She went on to tell me that I was that oak tree firmly planted by the river. To let my roots grow deep towards that river (the Holy Spirit) because the storms and winds were coming that will try to uproot me – but hold fast. That retreat was in February – 1999. Little did we know a maelstrom – spiritually and literally would test those roots few months later in April when we lost our Jimmie, her husband Jeff and their 1 yr old daughter Jordan in a car accident during a blinding storm. Jeff was my husband’s younger brother and Jimmie was my sister-by-heart. My first thought – her words to me that February. As I re-read those words – it dawned on me that it was part of that verse our church based it’s ministry on – the whole chapter of Isaiah 61. Within a few days, my husband went from being the Associate Pastor of this hurting church to Senior Pastor. Over the next 13 years – we tried to live out those words as we continued the ministry.
So – this is my thoughts about oak trees – well – not exactly the tree itself but things made from oak. Yes from what I’ve read oak trees are survivors. I guess that makes me a survivor too. I have had to push my roots deep into the soil towards the water and hang on with everything I’ve got. I’d say that oak trees have character. My husband would say I’m a character. But – what about things made from oak? I love the look of freshly polished wood. It has a comforting feeling to me. I also have a fondness towards my oak dining table. We purchased it over 25 years ago with gift money from my mom. Kent and I had purchased a new home and she wanted to help us furnish it. We bought this sturdy oak dining table, that had a glow about it. Today – it’s seen better days – but it is still my favorite piece of furniture because despite it’s dents, scratches and flaws – this table holds some of my favorite memories of family. Time with those you love is a precious gift not to be squandered. I’m the kind of person who has no problem leaving the sink full of dishes while enjoying time around dinning table listening to my children and their stories, helping with their homework, or playing games. Life happens around that old table. Things made from oak are durable, resilient, and even when “damaged” – still posses character and beauty. That’s how I feel at times –during those storms my sister-by-heart warned me about – I’ve had to be durable, resilient and even though I’m damaged – I’ve become quite a character in hopes that my character displays His splendor.