Tale of a Mighty Oak
By Susan Witmer Miller
The young oak stood strong, sturdy, and confident on the banks of a lively bubbling brook. A vibrant tree with lush deep green foliage and a deep strong healthy root system, she stood alone yet was never lonely. The brook was a merry little chap … always singing a lively happy tune as his waters danced along, heading toward their ocean adventures. The tree would nod her head to his lighthearted melodies as she contentedly listened to the praises he sang to his Creator.
The meadow was a tranquil restful sort of place. Wildflowers were scattered haphazardly here and there … wherever the songbirds happened to drop their seeds. An occasional cow or sheep often meandered by and grazed at her feet. Robins and squirrels built their nests in secret hidden spots deep within her hair. A screech owl couple or two often chose a hidden away hollow in the upper portion of the young oak’s trunk to prepare a shelter for their young. Songbirds sang happy tunes as they perched on the oak’s head. An occasional bald eagle will rest there to scan the stream for a fish dinner. The meadow was the type of place that drew weary and work-worn people after an extremely difficult and stressful day at work. Many would come and seek solace and refreshment in the meadow. They would sit on the rock at the foot of the oak tree, rest their backs on her strong comfortable bark, close their eyes, and listen to the brook’s and songbirds’ lively, healing, and comforting choruses. They always left refreshed, renewed, and restored … ready to tackle another day.
When asked about their change in their demeanor, some would say that it was the brook’s music, others would say that it was the songs of the birds, someone else would insist that it was the fresh crisp meadow air, and still others attributed it to the delicate scent of the wildflowers; but all agreed that there was something magical, healing, and very special in that country meadow. Nobody mentioned the strong, young, sturdy oak whose trunk always supported their backs while they sat, rested, and even slept beneath her.
Unknown to them, the oak, who was sheltering them from the sun’s strong hot rays, was also singing songs of blessing, intercession, and worship over them. When she was finished singing, she would whisper prayers of intercession to the Creator of All Things on their behalf. No, they never attributed the change in their spirits to the prayers of a young oak. After all, how could an oak be healing? An oak offered shade on a hot day, a nice sturdy backrest to a tired aching back, wood for a fire on a cold winter’s night, and nice solid wood for furniture for their homes, but bringing healing? Nah, an oak could heal no one.
The oak didn’t mind being overlooked, nor did she feel taken advantage of. She continued to stand in the meadow … tall, elegant, and strong; with her branches extended toward heaven in prayer and worship, her roots firmly planted deep beneath the ground, and her head nodding in time to the merry little brook’s melodious songs of praise as she interceded for and blessed the weary humans who sought solace in her shade.
One morning in early spring she noticed a small sapling standing beside her to the rock’s left side. As she inspected the shoot, she realized that it was her child. A squirrel had missed digging up one of her acorns that it had planted last fall. The oak almost burst with pride and joy. She had a new responsibility! She must instruct this young one in the ways of the Great Creator. As she swayed her head to the brook’s latest song and interceded for those who sat beneath her, she also taught her young daughter about the Creator of All Things and the Healer of Mankind. Her daughter listened to her wise words, gleaned her mother’s wisdom, and learned about the Creator, the importance of intercession, worship, blessings, and praise. Years went by and the oak sapling grew, thrived, and became a young tree that any oak mother would be proud of. She was strong, humble, steadfast, true, and faithful to her Creator.
One June morning in the sapling’s fifth year, a huge storm attacked the meadow. Forceful winds hammered the brave oak with all their fury trying their best to do the storm’s bidding and uproot her. The valiant oak just stood steadfast, dug her roots deeper into the ground stretched her branches higher toward heaven, sang praises to the Creator of All Things, as she interceded for her daughter, the meadow, and the wildlife who sought refuge in the shelters she provided. When the storm realized that wind couldn’t take her down, he called upon hail to come to his aid. When hail arrived she released all her fury while wind continued to push, pull, and buffet the oak with all its might. Hail bombarded her, breaking some of her branches. Yet oak stood firm stretching out her branches to protect the young tree at her side, the sheep and cattle who sought shelter beneath her and the birds, squirrels, and other wildlife that found shelter in her branches and hollows.
As the storm released all his fury and the oak continued to stand firm, the sapling stood at her mother’s side quaking in fear. As she stood trembling her ears caught some of her mother’s words. She realized that her mother was interceding for her, the creatures who ran to her mother for protection, and also for the humans who came regularly to the meadow for solace. Not only was her mother interceding but she was also singing songs of worship and praise…singing in the midst of that terrible storm!!! What faith her mother had!!! If her mother could do that she would try to as well. So tentatively at first and then more boldly the young tree added her intercession, praise, and worship to that of her mother. They stood together boldly fighting the storm’s fury with their faith in the power and faithfulness of the Great Creator of All Things.
When the storm realized that the little oak was becoming bold like her mother, he unleashed every single ounce of his fury. Roaring that the great oak must go, he summoned lightning to come closer. Oak’s root system was too strong and too deep for him to topple her but lightning could destroy her through fire!
This time the storm was successful. With one mighty flash lightning struck the great oak and she caught fire. As she stood burning, she called out to her daughter reminding her to put into practice all the knowledge that she had gleaned. She told her daughter that it was time for her to take her place in interceding for all who take refuge in the meadow. As the oak stood burning she sang praises to the Creator of All Things, interceded for her daughter, the wildlife, the humans, and worshiped her Maker. Her daughter joined her in intercession, worship, and praise. As she breathed her last the mighty oak cried out to the storm, “You may have destroyed me, but Creator’s work will continue on in this meadow!”
The sapling, with tears streaming down her tiny trunk, stretched her little branches toward heaven, praised Creator of All Things for his faithfulness, thanked him for her mother’s teachings, and began to intercede for those who would come and sit on the rock at her feet as they sought solace in the peaceful meadow.