Friday, August 21

The Old Oak Tree


“The tree you saw was growing very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. It had fresh green leaves…Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches.” (Dan. 4:20-21 NLT)

That was our tree. Now gone. Only emptiness remains. A void in the beauty of the yard where the once grand, old oak tree stood. Disease invaded the rings of his time-worn torso. Even so, cutting him down seemed cruel. He existed only for the service for others.

In the hot, summer sun, his leaves unfurled like a canopy of shade for everyone’s comfort. The full breadth of his limbs became a playground for the silly squirrels, as they hopped from branch to branch, playing Run, Chief, Run.

In the humid evenings, while the tree frogs croaked their lullabies and the crickets joined in the chorus, the fireflies blinked their dance of the nightlights, lulling him to sleep.

In the midst of fall, as the sunlight emblazoned his boughs, he put on a multicolored coat of beauty, just for our enjoyment. Seedlings of hope fell from his limbs to the ground, spreading out his tiny descendants of the future.

When the brisk winds of fall whipped around him, he dropped his radiant coat, standing naked to greet winter’s chill. Then, the delicate snows dressed him in a gown of white.

In spring, he blossomed with new growth and fanned out like a peacock, exploding with pride as he became the stage for the birds’ annual songfest. Transformed into the local bed and breakfast for all the nestmakers, he opened his arms and welcomed them into his home.

He loved the fragrance of the floral bouquet that grew at his feet. The neighborhood cats sought their refuge in the security of his heights. And the dogs, well, let’s just say they kept his sod turned over.

Years of growth created roots that spread out deep and wide, keeping him firmly planted. He laughed at the winds and shook his branches at them, as if to scare them away. When storms came, he bowed only slightly to their strength, standing immovable in his place. His strength was born out of testing.

As time passed, he grew knotty and hard, dried out and rough. His sickness, once internal and secret, became external and open. Disease took its toll.

The arborist came and, after cutting him down, left behind some remnants, which we laid to rest in the fireplace. The arborist’s saw revealed his inner progress as ring after ring attested to his stamina throughout the years. Once again, he gave himself for the use of others, as we warmed ourselves in front of the blaze.

As the flames began to engulf him, there came a sound, a whistle. No, it was a melody. The song of the tree. From within the tree’s heart, the fire released all the sweet songs of the birds singing amongst his branches, the sounds of kids giggling as they raced around him, the twitters of the squirrels running to and fro, and the hubbub of the cicadas and the tree frogs.

Remembering all these sounds, he began to sing in the fire, his song of praise drawn out by the flames. But if not for the fire, the song would not have been released. A song of praise to glorify his Creator.

As I listened to his song, I asked myself: Do I exist to serve others? Do I welcome others into my life? Do I open my arms to comfort and care for others? Do I display a beautiful exterior while my interior is knotty, hard, and diseased? Do I plant seeds of hope for the future? Do beautiful things grow around me?

As the years pass, do my roots grow deeper and wider, giving me stability? When the winds of adversity come, do I laugh at them? When the storms of heartache beat upon me, do I stand immovable? Do I gain strength out of my testing? Have I allowed my hidden sin to become visible, or have I repented of it? When I am tossed into the fires of affliction and the flames lap up around me, do I sing sweet songs of praise and thanksgiving to my Creator?

Oh, Lord, let me grow to be a true testament of Your love and compassion. Let my branches reach out to those around me and bring them comfort in their trying times. Make me into that beautiful creation You intended me to be. Let my strength be born out of my testing. And Lord, if the only way my heart will sing its melodies to You is when I am in the fires of affliction, then fan the flames ever hotter.

18 Responses
  1. Ernest Says:

    Lynn,

    I am interested in the analogy of the tree and how we live and grow in faith and the love of God. Spreading the word like our branches allowing the word to take root and grow and be rooted firmly in Jesus Christ.

    I feel a little like the tree, as life moves on, we gradually age and fade away - but leaving seedlings of new life to follow us.

    For us the promise is a new beginning with the Lord in all of his glory, gazing in awe and wonder on the beauty, which we cannot imagine.

    Keep posting your wonderful stuff, which gives food for thought and prayer for us all.


  2. Marja Says:

    Thanls Lynn, well written, as always. It is indeed an interesting question: do I sow seeds, do I have disciples, do I grow new life?


  3. Good morning, Lynn,

    What a poignant tribute to your oak tree!

    A verse in the Psalms commands, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." Your oak tree did that by living the life God gave it to the fullest. It was a life well-lived in service.

    When you burned the logs in your fireplace, the seasons for that tree were almost finished. It had one last service to perform. God used the memories of its life to inspire you to write this blog. May the questions provoked by the memory of this oak tree's life lead us to live lives of loving obedience before our God in the remaining seasons of our life.

    Be blessed!

    Lynnda


  4. Lynn,
    This week during our local NW Washington Fair I "cast out seeds" by handing out tracts to the fair-goers. There weren't too many opportunities to share my personal witness, but, praise God, I know that the Word won't come back void, that it'll have its effect. You know, I may be an "old tree," but, praise God, I'm still scattering "seed." Anyone can do it, even in old age. I know. You see, I turn 65 tomorrow, which might explain why I feel the urgency to witness more.


  5. lynnmosher Says:

    Ernie, Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Bless you!


  6. lynnmosher Says:

    Hey, Marja! I've missed you! Hope all is well in your corner of the world. Which corner are you living in right now? LOL! Thanks always for your thoughts. Blessings to you!


  7. lynnmosher Says:

    Lynnda, Thank you for your touching comment. You make my heart very happy! Bless you!


  8. lynnmosher Says:

    LOL! Maureen, I know about being an old tree! You have me beat my two years! Thanks so much for your comment. May the Lord bless all those seeds you planted! Awesome! Blessings to you!


  9. Sandy/Snady Says:

    Such beauty and bittersweetness in this, Lynn. Such a testament of love and life. God's creation holds such eternal lessons.


  10. Lynn

    Thank you so much for "The Old Oak Tree." Your insight to its beauty, stand, and devotion to its creator, has made me ponder about my own life.

    I sincerely hope, with Gods grace; That I will stand the test of time, and in the end sing the songs of praise to my Lord.

    Lynn; well done.

    Louis


  11. Cheri Says:

    Lynn,

    This is a beautiful post! I just love the analogy. I live in the country and nature surrounds me on all sides. I love trees and mourned the loss of so many when Katrina tore through our area.

    But what I love even more are the poignant questions you bring to light through your post, questions we must all ask ourselves. If we read the Word, we know we will find ourselves in the firey furnace of affliction at one time or another. What kind of song will we sing? What kind of life have we led? What kind of legacy will we leave?

    Wow! Thanks!
    Cheri


  12. Melinda Y. Says:

    Lynn,
    The "Old Oak Tree" spoke to my heart & allowed me to "fast forward" my life and reflect on the legacy of my life & even think about how I will be eulogized someday.
    I thought about the song by Matthew West "Motions": He says"I don't wanna' spend my whole life askin' what if I had given everything, instead of goin thru the motions?"
    I want to be that "Old Oak Tree" that came under the Lordship of our Savior Jesus Christ and from there went on to be useful in the Kingdom and didn't just suit up & show up. I want to scatter seeds, bear fruit and bring glory & honor to his name.
    In the end, I wanna be like the tree. I want to leave with a song on my lips and a heart with a burning desire to please God.

    Thanks faning the flames Lynn!
    ~~Melinda~~


  13. lynnmosher Says:

    Sandy, I love lessons from nature also. Thanks so much for taking time to read and comment. I deeply appreciate it. Blessings to you!


  14. lynnmosher Says:

    Thank you, Louis, for your wonderful comment. I so appreciate you stopping in. I'm glad it made you think. Great praise indeed! Be blessed!


  15. lynnmosher Says:

    Cheri, Thank you so much for your precious comment. To live in the country must be fodder for a writer's muse! I think I'm turning green...and not the good kind! Blessings to you!


  16. lynnmosher Says:

    Melinda, How awesome to make you ponder about your life. As I said to Louis, great praise indeed! Thank you for your touching comment. You've made my heart very happy! May the Lord bless you!


  17. susanlani Says:

    That was beautiful, Lynn,
    Thank you.


  18. Ericatwitts Says:

    Lynn, I sent your blog to my Mom, as I stated that I would and she absolutely loved it! I am going to go over and show her how to receive it directly via email, I think I saw that as an option! Continue to bless us with your words of praise!