Where No One Stands Alone
The sun was just peaking through the darkness of the dawn. The ground was dripping with the dew of the morning. The tall grass along the roadside stood still, glistening in the morning light, bending the light as though it were the glass of a thousand chandeliers. The freshly plowed farmland on either side of the roadway was darkened with the morning dew, swallowing all it could hold to give a refreshing drink to the new cotton plants that had resurrected from their graves of the winter. The air was still and the morning quiet. Birds sang in the warm blue skies, and a new day had begun.
On either side of the road were hundreds of acres of rich bottom land. This land had been plowed more days than most of us are old. On the west side, lying there with a dividing line that was drawn both ways were about four hundred acres of cotton fields. It was divided from east to west by a small dirt road stretching perpendicular to the highway, used only by the farmers to access one field or the other. From the north to the south, a line of trees formed the boundary that finished the division. There were four blocks of about one hundred acres each.
As I gazed across the first hundred acres, my imagination shouted, “Stop! Stop the truck! Do it now!” As quickly as the command came crashing through my mind, my foot was on the brake, and the old chevy was on the side of the road. Once again my imagination was in control. “Look at that picture,” it said. “What do you see?” Glueing my eyes to the field, all that I could see was a bunch of plowed dirt, a few hundred thousand cotton plants and a few trees. Gently, as if whispering in the night, the imagination urged, “Look closely at the trees.” As I lifted my eyes and focused on the trees, a sight came forward that was intriguing to behold. There in that line of trees stood a mighty oak. It stood there with its arms raised to heaven, big and bold, as if it were lifting its praises to the one who made it. It stood there, three times the height of the other trees and bolder than four of them put together.
Suddenly the imagination took over. “Erase a few years,” it said. “What do you see?” Things changed. As the years ran swiftly backwards, I saw the mighty oak all alone. I had erased twenty years. There were no other trees. It stood there all alone doing the same thing it was doing now. It was lifting its arms to God. “What does this tell you,” the imagination asked?
Looking carefully at the picture, I stood in awe. “Now, add the years back slowly,” it said. In my mind one year at a time was added to the picture. The mighty oak stood there year after year where God had planted it. It had sunk its roots deep in the rich fertile soil in hopes of bearing fruit. Year after year, new life was added. As each new tree grew, it took courage from the oak. It grew there protected from the elements of the seasons. Each tree learned from the oak how to stand the storms of life and how to greet each new year with hope and prosperity. As they grew, they too planted the seed God had given them, and soon there was a forest.
The mighty oak always stood taller than the rest of the trees. It knew the secret of life. “Plant your roots deeply and share the seed God has given you.”
To most who travel the highway, it only looks like a tree, but with a little imagination, a little pondering, the mighty oak can teach a lesson. “You can stand alone with God, do His will, and you will not be alone.”
I’ve known mighty oaks in the body of Christ. I’ve known those who would stand, sinking their roots deeply in God and lifting their arms in Holy praise, even if they were the only ones doing it. I’ve watched them share the seed God had given them to share and watched God bring forth fruit to their faithfulness. I’ve watched the J.D.’s struggle against the storms of life, swaying in the winds that would have broken most, only to rise up with arms stretched out to God in praise and faith. I’ve watched the David and Kay’s plant their seed around them, bring forth life to God’s glory. I’ve seen the Sherman and JoAmy’s gently tuck seeds of faith in the young and tender hearts of the children… and the Dodie’s as they carefully and lovingly guide the roots of the young into the deep and fertile soil of God. I’ve seen the Chuck’s who would take our young boys and the Wanda & Judi’s who would take our young girls and show them through their lives what God can do with a little faith and love. I’ve seen the mighty oaks.
Through my imagination I learned that no matter how alone you feel, even as the oak had been alone for so many years, you are never alone. God was always there working his creating power to bring forth new life from those who would stand firm. I saw the lone oak bring forth fruit from its seed because it stood where God has planted it.
Maybe one day, I too, can be a mighty oak. But today, I think I’ll sink my roots a little further into the fertile soil of God. He can do with me as He chooses.