Standing less than a hundred yards from the water’s edge on the coast road just outside Bayou La Batre, Alabama, is an old live oak tree. There is nothing between the old tree and the water to break the wind and waves. The old tree is battered and gnarled from many storms and hurricanes across its lifetime. There are limbs missing and the clumps of leaves have been blown away. Yet, there it stands as if defiant of all the storms that have assaulted it across the years. It is a survivor. It has taken the blows and is still standing.
Our days here on earth are often marked with major storms that can change the landscape of our lives. Catastrophic illness, family breakups, financial failures, and other crises may topple our plans and dreams. Is there something that can help people like us stand up against the storms that sweep across our lives? That old live oak stands as a testimony to endurance. God can help the things He has created to stand against adversity. Here are a few lessons drawn from the old oak on the shore:
- Believers are a planting of God. “That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3b)
- As a planting of God, believers may prosper under His hand. “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.” (Psalms 92:13-14)
- God’s planting can withstand the storms because of a deep root system. “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots…” (Jeremiah 17:8)
- Through faith believers can be “rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17). They can “be rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith…” (Colossians 2:7). This rooting and grounding can enable believers to withstand the storms of life.
- The plantings of God can stand against the storms across a lifetime, even into old age. It seems to me at this point in my life, 71 years old and under assault from cancer, that the storms often increase in number and intensity with age. My comfort is in Psalm 92:14: “They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing.”
My mind hearkens back to a chorus I used to sing in youth group so long ago:
“Just like a tree that’s planted by the water, I shall not be moved.”
~ Brother Roy