Oaks From Acorns Grow

Oaks from Acorns Grow

Remember the song, “Tall Oaks from Acorns Grow”? It’s a cute children’s song—one I hadn’t thought of in decades…until I began catching up on long overdue yardwork.

For the past 2 years, circumstances have caused me to neglect our yard. Shrubs grew wild and leggy. Weeds invaded where flowers should have bloomed. Two years of growth in a state where the growing season is year-round.

The solution to tackling this task is much like the answer to the riddle about how to eat an elephant: one bite at a time. So in recent weeks I’ve trimmed a bit, weeded a lot, pruned the plants I want to keep, and cut out the unwanted vegetation. Even with all that work, I’ve barely made a dent in our abundant Florida growth.

Oaks from Acorns GrowBut before discouragement could set in, I realized that in recent days I’ve been crunching acorns underfoot. And the children’s song came to mind.

We can joke about clichés, but the truth is, the large oak I labored under did indeed start as a tiny acorn. Planted in fertile soil, it simply did what it was created to do: hold its ground and grow.

As I work in the dirt, reflecting on oaks and acorns, I’m reminded that even though it might seem as if my situation is burying me, God is using it to plant me instead.

Oaks from Acorns GrowStill, I need to remember…

The darkness can be frightening, but His light shines brightest in the dark.

The duration and weight of our circumstances may be painful, but the combination of time and pressure drives us to the One who is our Refuge.

And the sense of loneliness in the face of our trials helps us appreciate the intimacy of our relationship with the One who created us, saved us, and indwells us with His Holy Spirit.

Thinking about acorns and oaks also reminds me of the passage in Isaiah 61:1-3:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor” (NIV).

This prophetic passage pointed to the Messiah—Jesus Christ, the anointed One who would come hundreds of years later to God’s chosen people as their Savior and Lord. It speaks to people who are hurting.

Those who feel buried in dark circumstances.

People in mourning and despair.

People who have been waiting so long that they’ve almost given up hope.

Yet this passage refers to God’s people as “oaks.” Plantings of the Lord for His glory.

Are you feeling discouraged today? In dark despair? Are you convinced your circumstances will bury you because you don’t have the strength to persevere?

Consider yourself planted instead. And know God does not abandon His children, regardless of their situation. Run to Him when you’re lonely. Welcome the light of His presence to dispel the darkness. Trust His perfect timing.

And remember…oaks from acorns grow.

Is This as Good as It Gets?

A friend recently posted on Facebook:

“Not the happiest of days in my life.
God must have bigger plans for me.”

I’ve had days like that.

  • When I didn’t get the job.
  • When a relationship broke.
  • When the medication wasn’t effective.

 At the end of days like these, I’ve comforted myself with the assurance that God has something better for me.

But what if He doesn’t?

  • What if there isn’t a better job waiting for me?
  • What if the relationship will never be repaired?
  • What if the illness is terminal?

 What if today is as good as this life will ever get?

I’m not talking about eternity. Christians have the assurance that eternal life will be way better than what we have now. But what about now?

I’ve often comforted myself with assurances such as God has something better for me, or God will restore that relationship or God will heal me. Still, God may choose not to do these things. Some Christians never receive the jobs they want, the restored relationships they seek, or the healing they’re praying for.

God has something better
Maybe the problem lies in how we define better.

I admit it. I usually define better in terms of more money, physical healing, happy relationships, and anything else that makes life easier, pain-free, and pleasant.

But God defines better as being more like Christ.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory,
are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (II Corinthians 3:18).

“And we know that in all things God works
for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to his purpose.
For those God foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:28-29).

Being more like Christ includes being humble, having a servant’s heart, and focusing on the eternal over the temporal. Problem is, those characteristics are almost always the result of problems…lots of problems.

When my definition of better doesn’t line up with God’s definition, I will be forever disappointed. Life will continually fall short of what I imagine it should be.

But when I define better as God defines it, then I see the value in trials, the good in disappointment, and the blessing in not getting what I thought I wanted. I’m not always there – some days it’s easier than others for me to line up my perspective with God’s perspective.

Of course, I never stop reminding myself that everything that happens in this life is preparing me for eternity, when life really will be as good as it gets.