20th April - Thought For The Day - Oaks Of Righteousness
Words by Bev Jones
Oaks of Righteousness
A few years ago in Illinois, some research was carried out around the growth of Oak trees. Three groups of Oak saplings were planted, and each category treated differently:
• The first group of saplings were staked and left alone for a few months
• The second group were un-staked and left alone for a few months
• The third group were un-staked, but every day waved to and fro for a period of time
After the allotted time, all the trees were measured and the results were as follows:
• The first lot that had been staked and left alone were the tallest – but the weakest – the trunks had the narrowest diameter
• The second lot that were un-staked were pretty average. They were medium in height and medium in strength
• The third lot were found to be the strongest. They weren’t necessarily the tallest, but the trunks on this group had the biggest diameter.
Photo by Rebe Pascual via Unsplash
The group of trees that had every day been waved to and fro for a period of time were the strongest because the diameter of the trunks was the greatest, and that’s where the strength is - at the core of the tree. The trunk defines the strength of the Oak tree and their strength grows in adverse conditions. All the shaking around strengthens the core – as the research proved.
In Isaiah we’re told that God has anointed us to go and share the good news to those that have suffered. He says, rename the suffering people,
Oaks of Righteousness – planted by God to display his glory. Isaiah 61 MSG
I love that those who suffer are likened to the Oak tree – not the maple or the beech, but the Oak. A tree whose core is strengthened by the storms that pound it, because that reminds me that if we allow Him too, God can use everything that we go through to refine us, to make us stronger, and in turn then, to support others in their times of need.
In my own life, it hasn’t been the mountain top experiences that have deepened my faith, nor the highs of the great Christian gatherings (great though they are); it has been the times where the storms have come, and I’ve been tossed to and fro. These are the times that my core has been strengthened as I’ve leant into the God who meets me in my brokenness, who walks beside me in the pain, and who carries me when I’m unable to put one foot in front of the other.
Perhaps it’s the times when our core is being strengthened that we are able to truly and authentically display His glory in a very real way that actually means something to others. Perhaps this present time is the moment that the core of the Church is being strengthened in order that she may truly and authentically display the glory of our amazing God.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10 NIV