Straight Pines and Gnarly Oaks by Robin Densmore Fuson


Are you a Straight Pine or a Gnarly Oak?

Our house, here in Florida, backs up to the forest where oaks and pines grow. The pine trees grow straight and tall to touch the clouds and where the sun shines bright on their heads of green needles. Huge pinecones are worn like jewelry and discarded when new ones sprout.

The oaks are different. Straight upward growth is not in their vocabulary. Those trees let many things influence their growth. They normally shoot toward the sun but not always in a direct route. They are all about bends and twists and getting gnarly. Some run parallel to the ground for years, then point their foliage upward. Most of the oaks lean toward the west where the sun is guaranteed to shine brightly.

A seedling might grow next to some obstruction like perhaps, another tree and the little thing will grow around it. Some trees, in their growth pattern, form letters of Y, L, and I and on occasion U and S.

We’re like those magnificent trees with beautiful full leaf coverage.

Some of us grow straight and tall with no wavering. You know the Christian that seems all put together. They have power in their prayers. They quote scripture in three different translations with references. They spout Hebrew and Greek. They always have an answer to a spiritual question or need. It seems the Son shines brightly on their halo. The oaks want to be like these straight tall pines with all their knowledge and quick answers. 

Others of us grow crooked and a bit gnarly. The scars of life show. The distractions cause us to bend this way and that. We try to find the Light of the Son and in doing so, we sometimes run parallel instead of straight up. Someone or something gets in the way of our spiritual development, and we shift ever so slightly. We get off course and end up with a bend. A knot of hardness develops. A bit of bitterness that we didn’t discard grows hard and even though we have grown around it, it’s still there making a weakness in our spiritual stature.

Those of us who are like the oak, struggle with memorizing and application. Our Christian walk has been difficult with stalls and stops. The good thing is we keep pressing on. We may look rough, but our growth is still evident. We are strong because of learning from the trials of life. The pine wishes they had life struggles to learn from. 

The tall straight growing Christians are bold and beautiful. The Christians with the difficult growth are unique and glow with beauty and strength all their own. Whether you are a “pine” or an “oak” keep growing in the Lord. Don’t compare yourself with others. Learn from the trials of your life but keep facing and growing toward the Son, Jesus Christ.

For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves with themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12 nkjv)

But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who heard the word with a good and virtuous heart, and hold it firmly, and produce fruit with perseverance. (Luke 8:15 nasb)


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