Oak trees are pretty common around me. Everywhere I look I can spot about 30 of them, many line our 80-acre farm. But, there is one oak tree that has stood out in my mind and I can not find another like it.
In the early days of my Breaking Fee bible study journey, my daughter had a soccer game out of town. While driving there I noticed this huge oak in the middle of an open field. It was about 1.5 football fields off the highway. I couldn’t explain, at first, why that it had me in awe for miles as I approached and passed it. I see solo trees in the middle of fields all the time, but this one was different.
This Oak stood nearly 100 feet tall then split into a V at the top and had the fullest branches of leaves I’ve ever seen reaching across the sky. That alone is beautiful, but its trunk diameter was huge. Huge is my best attempt and explaining inches or feet, sorry I can’t do any better than ‘huge’ to explain this majestic tree trunk.
Now, come with me and imagine how old that tree must be, how many storms, farmers, difficulties that tree had to endure to remain there to stand in it’s current noticeable and unmatched beauty.
One more thing I must mention before I get to my point :). The hight, the width and long life of this tree is great, but the most profound to me is that the entire trunk of that tree had nothing growing up it, no extra branches coming off the sides… It just went straight up, flawlessly till it’s outstreached branches at the top. There was nothing blocking its greatness or its beauty.
Fast-forward two weeks in my bible study and we come across Isaiah 61:3:
…. In their righteousness they will be like great oaks.
That Oak popped into my head instantly. I began to think of myself as that giant beautiful oak tree!
But wait, this oak analogy get’s better… stick with me… After my study that morning I went for a run, on my run I was on the lookout for another big ‘great oak’ to compare myself to, but I couldn’t find one, not a single one… I live in the country, Y’all, I assumed they would be everywhere – but, nope!
There are oaks everywhere, but each one I looked at had things growing on it, surrounding it, drowning out its beauty making it look flawed and hidden, and none of them had the diameter base like the oak tree from the highway.
Why we become hidden oaks
Then it hit me. The reason that the tree stood out is that there aren’t many others like it. There aren’t other trees that look so much like they are praising the heavens like this one does. I couldn’t help but take the analogy of us being oaks further. Let’s consider why a flawless, middle of an open field tree looks so much more majestic than an oak hidden in a forest…
- We are all great oaks planted for God’s glory, but with each earthly thing we chase a vine grows up us trying to take away our beauty and flawlessness
- Each person we surround yourself with that isn’t a believer or tears us down grows out around us – shielding our beauty and blocking us from glorifying God.
- Every obstacle, bondage, doubt… causes us to fade into the background, not stand up, stand out or put our hands up in praise.
- All Oak trees are beautiful – but what we surround ourselves with will either drowned us out or give us a way to glorify God
- Our roots and base don’t have the ability to grow strong and deep if we are being weighed down by the things of this world. With every “vine” that grows on us, it takes some life out of us – life that will get us to grow our roots deep into Christ
These are only a few things that keep up from living like the righteous oaks that Isaiah speaks of. And, there aren’t many flawless oaks like the one I saw on my drive. Just like there aren’t many of us who are living like the great oaks that God has planted to glorify Him.
We are called to live boldly for Christ. To stand up and step out claiming victory for him with our hands up and testifying his saving grace, power, and love.
I challenge you all to be a flawless oak, with your hand stretched up, enduring each storm that passes by reaching your arms higher. Let’s not let God’s people be as rare as the oak I saw… Let’s stand up, brush off the things and people that are hiding our beauty and spread the Good News.