"God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees, and flowers, and clouds, and stars."
My husband and I began our ministry in southwest Georgia. We lived near the town of Thomasville, a beautiful southern city that is culturally rich. We did our personal business and shopping there and often took advantage of that time to explore the city and its local color.
Near the center of the city lies a live oak tree. It is truly majestic. Over 300 years old, the old oak is very stately, almost daunting, with its fascinating limbs spreading 162 feet. We used to visit the old oak and gaze in awe at its grandeur. As I reminisce about the old oak, I now marvel at its beautiful spiritual analogy.
Oak trees can absorb, because of their complex root system, about fifty gallons of water each day, and the older the tree is, the more fruit (acorns) it produces. Wood from an oak is some of the strongest available, and it is resistant to attacks from insects and bacteria. These facts may simply seem trivial, but the Bible refers to the promise of Christians being as "oaks of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:3), and in Psalm 1, it speaks of them as being like a tree planted by water that bears fruit in its season.
That comparison is beautiful for Christians. An oak is strong because of its roots, its inner foundation. An oak is strong because of its ability to absorb water, which continuously feeds the roots, providing nourishment to the entire tree, which gives it beautiful green leaves and fruit. In our walk with God, we are only as strong as our root system, our inner spiritual life that is built through personal prayer and Bible study. Greater strength and maturity in our lives yield greater fruit, and our stability and integrity help us resist attacks from the enemy and the discouraging problems of everyday life.
I have been reading the book Just Give Me Jesus by Anne Graham Lotz. As she wrote about the need for every Christian to have a special quiet time with God each day, I felt convicted to be more disciplined in my personal time with the Lord. It's so easy for me to skip it when I have busy days or am not feeling well, or to hurry through it when other things are pressing. Anne Lotz says that our quiet time is an appointment with God, where Jesus is personally waiting to meet with us and that when we neglect it, we miss His voice and are robbed of true fulfillment, of joy and peace.
I want to have a strong root system, and I want my life to be like that live oak I remember. That would certainly be the best legacy I could leave my children and grandchildren. But I know to be an oak of righteousness, I must leave my own feelings and schedule behind and meet God at every turn. So my prayer today is "Lord, help me, in my weakness, to lean on You for my strength. May I never leave You waiting or disappointed. May I never neglect the most precious gift of my life, but may I always be ready to sacrifice my time and give you all of my heart."