The Oak Tree

by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr.

A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the Oak Tree’s leaves away.
Then snapped its boughs
and pulled its bark
until the Oak was tired and stark.
But still the Oak Tree held its ground
while other trees fell all around.
The weary wind gave up and spoke,
“How can you still be standing Oak?”
The Oak Tree said, I know that you
can break each branch of mine in two,
carry every leaf away,
shake my limbs and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth,
growing stronger since my birth.
You’ll never touch them, for you see
they are the deepest part of me.
Until today, I wasn’t sure
of just how much I could endure.
But now I’ve found with thanks to you,
I’m stronger than I ever knew.
My dad gave me this poem a couple of months into my mission reflecting on the road I’ve taken to be where I am today and I absolutely love it. It is hard to be grateful for adversity and the difficult times, but if we have the attitude that the Oak Tree did when all is said and done we can whether any storm.
We can never take our faith for granted. If we neglect to nourish our spiritual roots we risk having them wither and die, subjecting us to be tossed to and fro and worst of all miserable and unhappy. That is not what this life is all about. We aren’t created to be miserable, we are created to have joy.
I know and can testify that we can become happy, free, and full of joy when we follow the example of Jesus Christ. He is our perfect example in every way. I know that we can have the will power to look at adversity in the eye and keep our heads held high and keep moving forward. That is possible. It isn’t just wishful thinking. It is real and it is obtainable.  These things I know and can testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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