Everyone has a story to tell. When we make the connection between our story and God's great story, we come away with HIStory, which involves each and every one of us.
It’s kind of interesting how trees have become a sudden interest of mine. Maybe it’s because I await the day our newly planted trees block the window in my neighbor’s home. Searching for the fastest growing tall trees became a mission for my husband and I. It had me looking at trees like never before. I mean fixating on trees in gardens, roadways, freeways, and parks – everywhere! I promise I’m not the un-neighborly type. It’s just that we haven’t received very warm fuzzies from that part of the house. In fact, the neighbors have made it clear they do not like us nor want us here. So any privacy mechanisms that will help alleviate the tension are very much appreciated.
So when we finally planted the trees and they didn’t grow more than an inch over a few months, we knew we hadn’t planted the right trees. So upward and onward. My husband researched and finally found the ones that would do it. They are planted now and we patiently (ok impatiently) await the outcome.
So as I think about these trees, I find myself reading from the “Uninvited” study series by Lysa TerKeurst and something totally stands out to me. The study asked me to write down “promises that you long to see fulfilled in your life” from Isaiah 61. I read, “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” A “planting of the LORD” – so I think: rooted in Him, watered by Him, Lit up by Him, to be displayed like flowers. So I look up the characteristics of an oak tree and I read: “exceedingly strong, heavy and durable, resistant to fungal attack, long lifetime.” It hit me. I want to be an oak of righteousness, firm, steady and ready. I want to be planted and rooted in Him for the “display of his splendor” that I would walk like a flower - a beautiful, blossoming, ripe, colorful, cheerful, bright and joyful flower - that my stem would be straight and firm, steady through any kind of weather pattern. One that would move so elegantly with the shifting winds and one that would remain ready for any rainfall, hail or storm. One that would overcome resistance and overpower temptation - a force to be reckoned with like an oak tree that is strong, durable and resistant to attack - a long lasting oak tree.
All of a sudden I find that this should be my response to my neighbors. They may not like us but we can still love them - because like an oak tree, we are firm and durable, fully rooted in His love. So I can come from a place of fulfillment to replace bitterness with endearment. And not just with an unfriendly neighbor but with every facet of my life. Because this isn’t something we haven’t received, but a promise that God has already given us. This promise is ours for the taking. This promised has been fulfilled and is right there for us.
So I challenge you today to stand firm and to live boldly in His promise ” I am an oak of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”
Damaris U. Avila lives with her loving husband and their two inquisitive and sweet girls. Through personal storytelling, she invites women to share and see themselves in God's story. She leads young girls through BeYOUtiful Girl Time, a sisterhood where girls are encouraged to become the women God designed them to be.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."