A Pin Oak stands in my front yard, another in the back. They rise over the roof of my two-story house, their branches willow down in tangled rigidity.
In spring, the oaks receive their leaves last. In the fall, they golden, but well after the other trees have lost their plumage. The brittle-browns fall throughout winter; a leafy remnant whips on when the spring push begins.
In the summer the oaks blanket the ground with shade. When I prune them I always hold a couple branches—their slender bones, dense and heavy.
But the thrashing spring storms do not relent. By mid-April the brittle-browns disappear, giving way to the tiny-glories. I watch the buds frost the mammoth skeletons, dressing them in God's finest.
How like the Pin Oak am I? Clinging to the old season until shaken by the Wind of God, thrashing me towards his glory.
We must, through life, embrace the storm of Christ. We all of us live forever in a state of release and reaching—shedding the brittle-brown within us, clothing our dry bones in God's finest:The Way Everlasting.
This inner renewal looks like daily spring. When we gather as the Family of God we flutter and bounce, all glory given to Christ and his supremacy. When we in our homes love one another and entertain we flutter and bounce, our hospitality and possessions reflecting the principles of release and reaching—we give without condition, we serve until we die.
"Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. This is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us." (1 John 3:24)"
How the Pin Oak catches the wind, first in its bare limbs, then in the applause of its plumage. Lord, teach us to release and reach that your glory and your supremacy may blow through us into your world.
All praise and glory to God, Amen.
Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.