Several years ago, I was walking in the woods one day. As I strode along, my eyes were mostly on the path, deep in thought, and looking out for tree roots that I didn’t want to trip over.
At a curve in the path, I happened to glance around to see where I was and noticed an enormous oak tree about fifty yards away.
I’ve seen thousands of oak trees in my life, but this one caused me to stop.
It was the biggest oak I’d ever seen!
As I walked through the ferns that covered the forest floor on the way up to its trunk, I looked way up into its branches. At that moment, I was sure that I’d never seen a bigger tree in the southern United States.
I eased up to the base of the tree and wrapped my arms around it as far as they would go. It was so big that I immediately knew that it would take at least three or four men with their arms fully outstretched to completely encircle the tree.
Looking at it, I saw that the tree was different than all the other trees that surrounded it. Its branches were more crooked. It wasn’t the tallest tree, but it surely was the strongest.
And I began to think . . .
How many storms had this old oak weathered? How many strikes of lightening had it survived? We sometimes get hurricanes that pass through from the coast, and we definitely have tornados that rumble through. How many of these had this mighty oak lived through.
It’s twisted, knotty branches had no doubt been shaped and formed by enduring over a centuries worth of Mother Nature’s fury, and yet it still stood tall and strong. It’s a crazy thought, but I imagined that the other trees looked up to it and what it had withstood.
Isn’t this what God allows us to experience? I believe that He is searching for people with the kind of strength and character that this old oak exuded. And he allows us to go through these storms of life in order to strengthen and grow us.
If the good Lord allows me to grow old, I hope to one day be like that old oak—strong, wise, and unwavering. I pray that God will allow that.
There’s a chance that you may be suffering through a personal storm right now.
Look to the oak and gain strength from its struggle. Storms made this old oak grow deeper roots.