Lessons From a Live Oak Tree.

Two images of my live oak tree in my yard; black bellied singing ducks in lower corner;

This morning I experienced a brief but annoying episode of a recurrent medical issue and potentially a new one. My initial reaction was tension mixed with a little “worry” and “what if”. I have been down that same road before. Almost immediately, God’s Word from James 1:6-7 came to me. “For the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord.”

In my Florida yard, there are two huge majestic live oak trees suitable for climbing if I were younger (see above). In fact, a friend who is a tree surgeon tells me they are uniquely beautiful in their branch configuration and span. This particular windy morning, I could not help but notice the wide arching, to-and-fro patterns of the mighty branches. But as the branches were swinging wildly driven by the wind pattern and direction, the massive tree trunk never moved. It was firmly planted in the soil. Even during Hurricane Irma a couple of years ago, while branches broke off in parts, the trunk never wavered. My thoughts then refocused to the words of Psalm 1, where it is stated that “the man is blessed…..” who takes refuge “like a tree firmly planted by streams of water.” I saw myself as a branch solidly grafted onto the massive tree trunk. It brought to mind Jesus’ words in John 15:5 where He states that “I am the vine, you (me) are the branches; he who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” I need to consider myself firmly anchored to that massive, unmovable tree trunk (Jesus) whatever winds may blow.

I also noticed that unlike many trees in northern climates, the live oak leaves are deciduous; the tree is never without leaves. As the old leaves fall in March, the new ones immediately appear in their place. The leaves of the tree are constantly being renewed. It reminded me of the truth stated in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things” (i.e. tree leaves, personal worries, doubts) ” passed away; behold new things” (i.e. trust, hope, God’s peace) “have come.” So as one who has put his personal faith in Christ thereby enabling a personal relationship with God, I am a new creation; old things and habits do pass away. All becomes new. So as I write this blog to you the readers as well as to myself, whatever our medical conditions, I encourage us to put our faith totally in the unmovable trunk, God and Jesus. Let the old leaves of doubt and mistrust fall away and be replaced by new leaves and fruit of hope, peace and complete trust. As deciduous leaves and branches firmly attached to the unchanging person and nature of God and His Son Jesus Christ, let our minds and thinking be renewed according to the apostle Paul’s words in Romans 12:2. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.

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