The Old Oak Tree (Day 2 from Cleansing Thoughts)
Our God is loving and merciful, who understands the hidden desires of our hearts, and I believe He longs to see His children walking in the peace He has provided for us. I also believe if we have opened our spiritual eyes to see, He will allow us to see a glimpse into eternity. For me, it was my visit to the old oak tree.
He knew I needed to know my grandparents would be reunited with their son because of the circumstances of his death. And that I needed peace in my heart that my father was forgiven and with the Lord. He also knew I needed closure with the loss of my little girl. The Lord knew how much I longed to see my uncle before he passed away. I learned later from my cousin that at the same time that I saw him with my father under the old oak tree; my uncle had gone home to be with the Lord.
In a prophecy of judgment at the desolation of Israel in Zechariah 11:13, the oaks of Bashan are said to howl because of death. Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, was buried under an oak tree in Genesis 35:8. In 1Chornicles 10:12, we read that the bones of Saul and his sons were buried beneath an oak tree. So many times in scripture, the oak is seen in reference to the bitterness and sorrow related to death. Yet for me, it has been one of peace and comfort.
As children of God we are told in Hebrew2:14-15, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and bloom, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of dwarf, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (NKJV). Death has lost its sting through the resurrection power of Jesus. Whenever I see an oak tree, I am reminded of that glorious time when “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying “ (Revelation 21:4, NKJV).
There is another inspirational passage that speaks of the oak tree that pertains to those of us who remain herd on earth until that glorious day when we will be without loved ones again; it’s found in Isaiah 61. The passage states that He will comfort those who grieve and will pour upon them the oil of joy and clothe them in a garment of praise. The darkness we experience at the loss of someone we love is not lasting darkness for God will restore all things, and we will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord. Hallelujah! May we glorify His holy name!
In the sixth chapter of Isaiah, God speaks figuratively of the stump of an oak tree by saying, “Whose stump remains when it is cut down, so the holy seed shall be its stump” (vs 13, NKJV). And from this stump, sprouts will continue to grow, representing a remnant of His people who will return from captivity. I like to think that our loved ones are represented in the stump, the holy seed of the Lord, and those of us who are left behind at their death are the sprouts that will return from the grief that has held us captive at their loss. When I first read this passage it became a sign of hope and strength.
Grief is a hard reality to face in this life. Remember when Jesus wept at the death of His friend Lazarus? Even the Jews stated, “See how He loved him!” (John 11:36, NKJV). Our Heavenly Father understands that grief is a natural process we all go through when we lose someone we love. However, He does not want us to remain at the tomb of sorrow but to look to Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life. When the prophet Isaiah spoke prophetically of Christ, he stated, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4, NKJV). I believe with all my heart that is why He sent me to the old oak tree, that I would find peace in my grief and with all certainty that, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5, NKJV).
I worked for a cemetery for thirteen years and met people in all stages of grief, as well as lead grief classes. I counted it all joy when I was able to help someone to walk away from the tomb of sorrow, and shake off the grave-clothes that kept them bound and make it a place of rejoicing. Beloved, if that is where you are I encourage you to look to the outstretched arms of the old oak tree.
“Heavenly Father, I bring your child before you that You would lose the grave-clothes of sorrow and fireplace it with a garment of praise to remove this spirit of heaviness. That they may know with all certainty that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. And that He has come to bear their grief and their sorrow. In Jesus' name, I pray.”