Saw an interesting poster the other day: which read:
“When God wants to make a mushroom, He makes it overnight, but when He wants to make a giant oak, He takes a hundred years. Great souls are grown through struggles and storms and seasons of suffering. Be patient with the process” (© Pastor Rick Warren https://goo.gl/01Kx10)
There is so much here. I like the variety of mushrooms that are now readily available, and I like adding them to a range of meals. However, the main function of a mushroom is to absorb the flavours of the food it is cooked with. It has an unerring capacity to indiscriminately take on the flavour of its surroundings, whether good or bad. Probably just as well that mushrooms don’t hang around for very long! Too often, like them, we seek quick glory, instant adulation and a quick-fix hit of attention in God’s Kingdom.
Contrast that with the mighty oak. From the humblest of beginnings, these trees are able to weather the strangest of storms, patiently adding layer on layer of timer each year, until the final result is a close-grained, hard and strong wood. Oak is especially resistant to insect and fungal attack because of its high tannin content. It is used where strength and durability are desired qualities, whether that be paneling in royal palaces, or the most exquisitely carved furniture. Until the 19th Century, oak was also used to build naval man-of-warships, such was the strength of the hulls created with this fine timber.
In Joshua 24, Joshua re-stated the history of the Israelites, and helped them to re-affirm their covenant with God. In verses 25-27 we read:
“On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he reaffirmed for them decrees and laws. 26 And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord.
27 “See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.”
How appropriate that Joshua re-affirmed the covenant with a stone – a symbol of longevity – and sets it up under an oak tree – another symbol of longevity. The truth is that whilst we may make long-lasting covenants, God makes an Eternal Covenant with us, one that will never be revoked. We are loved, eternally, by God Himself. The One who created the Mighty Oak is Himself Almighty God.
Our response to such love should be a desire to grow in God like an Oak tree grows; patiently layering truth on truth, line on line, precept on precept ( Isaiah 28:10).
Rick Warren stated above: “Be patient with the process”.
How has God been processing you recently?
Did you long for an instant fix?
How long did it take you to recover?