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by Helen Lescheid
“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 gladness 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” ( Isaiah 61:2b – 4 ).
When I planted a tiny oak tree in my backyard, my life was in shambles. I had suffered one cruel loss after another and I wondered if life would ever be “normal” again.
Seeking comfort, I often read the above Scripture verses. God was saying to me, “I will bestow on you a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. You will be called an oak of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” Wanting a visual reminder of this promise, I planted a sapling of an oak.
Why an oak tree? For ages, the oak tree has symbolized sturdiness and strength. Some of you may have heard of the famous Chortitza Oak in Ukraine. More than 800 years old, it has survived many natural disasters like severe Russian winters and man – made disasters like world wars and revolutions. To the Mennonites who settled the area in 1789, it became a focal point for the community, a symbol of hope and strength.
Through the symbol of an oak tree, God was saying to me, “I have planted you, will I not look after you? I orchestrate the storms in your life, not to destroy you, but to strengthen you. Keep your roots deep in the water of my Word and you will survive this storm. You will become stronger than you were before, and in your shade others will find solace.”
Now years later, my tree has grown and so have I.
~Thank you, Father, that you are in charge of all of life – the good and the bad. As a good Gardener, you are watching over me. You will give me everything I need not only to survive, but to triumph. With my roots deep in your water, I will stand firm to the display of your splendor.
About the Author
This devotional was written by Helen Lescheid. Learn more about Helen: http://www.talk.thelife.com/authors/helen-lescheid/
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A place of refuge from life’s storms: http://www.christianwomentoday.com/training/christiehtestimony.html
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