I’ve never cared for New Years nor the wintry seasonal weeks that follow. Maybe it’s because of childhood memories, the loss of loved ones, or unfulfilled Resolutions left over from the previous year that want to slow me down emotionally. Im sure that Ohio’s cloudy days also play a major role when depressing thoughts come knocking at my door. I can’t really say which, but I know that the feelings are real!
Depression or mood changes are a simple fact of life, and nature can definitely play a role, but whether it’s July 1st or January first, I believe that there is a way out that God has provided. Some people try to stay busy, others become workaholics, still others turn to temporary stimuli, which actually makes matters worse when you wake up.
He declares that they will be called Oaks of Righteousness, the Planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Oak trees are very Majestic. It has been said that Oak trees take 300 years to grow, 300 years to live, and 300 years to die! Pass any cattle ranch, and you see sturdy oak trees spreading their limbs in every direction and providing shade for anyone or animal in need. Maybe the writer had no other thought in mind when he used the term Oak trees plural, but I’d like you to consider a thought. Isaiah was saying that the righteous or over-comers, who are still standing tall and have grown in maturity, are like the Oaks of Righteousness.
The prophet Isaiah in chapter 61 begins by proclaiming to His People the gift of Salvation . He goes on to preaching good news, healing for the broken-hearted, and Liberty for captives. Being a type and shadow of the coming Messiah, Isaiah declares deliverance, joy instead of mourning, and praise instead of a spirit of heaviness. Then he declares something very interesting in the latter part of verse 3.
If you know anything about forestry and Oak trees in general, there are two types that produce different kinds of wood. Let me explain. There are those stately trees in the middle of many fields that grow in solitude, but there is another type of Oak called the ‘Woodland’ Oaks, which grow very close to one another, and any carpenter will tell you that they produce a much stronger type of wood for the carpenter’s saw.
So how is that applicable when it’s even hard for me to just get out of bed? Consider this- many of us are like the solitary single Oak existing apart from other Oaks. We have an attitude that says, ‘I can do it myself, and I don’t need anyone to trust or confide in.’ Many people live that way and make it ok through life. But the Christian Faith is a message of Relational Love and Joy. Our faith declares that we need one another! This nature example makes it clear, because the hardest and best cut of wood comes from those Oaks who dwell together.
So what can I do to get back my energy and joy? First, begin each morning by praying, Holy Spirit, what can you and I do today to further your kingdom? Let Him show you, and He will. Secondly, make a decision to get involved in the lives of others. Begin with coming to church. The Word is clear concerning the assembly of the brethren, and that weekly commitment, as iron sharpens iron, will get your mind off of ‘self.’ Thirdly, seek to serve someone. Nothing invigorates me more than reaching out to someone in need. Fourth, get involved in a small group, Bible study, or some sort of intimate gathering, where you can develop true and trusted relationships. Fifth, ask the Holy Spirit to put on your heart one person each week that you can reach out to. All of these suggestions have one thing in common-There is not room to be a lone ranger if you want to become the vessel that God desires you to become. I love those stately old oak trees, but if I want to build a tabernacle for God to dwell in, I’ll find those Woodland Oaks!