Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I am a mighty oak

There is a poem that the former mission president in our mission, President Fisher, loved and shared with all the missionaries.  I never had the oppurtunity to meet President Fisher; however, this poem has lasted and been a source of inspiration and motivation for my misison.  It is entitled "The Oak Tree" and was written by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr.  It says:
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

I love this poem because it shows that no matter how hard adversities come, we can have an inner strength that surpasses everything.  Of course, this source of strength is our testimony and faith in the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.  I have always loved the words of the prophet Helaman to his two sons found in the Book of Mormon.  He counsels them, "And now, my sons, remember, remember, that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall (Helaman 5:12)."

Christ is always there, reaching out to help us if only we will reach for His hand and cling to Him through all of our afflictions and trials.  As Elder Jeffery R. Holland, a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles, once said, "For the fruit of the gospel to blossom and bless our lives, we must be firmly attached to Him, the Savior of us all... He is the vine that is our true source of strength and the only source of eternal life. In Him we not only will endure but also will prevail and triumph in this holy cause that will never fail us. ("'Abide in Me'", Ensign May 2004)" 

I know that as long as we do our part, we will have all of heaven on our side, protecting, guiding, and strengthining us through our trials.  Like the Mighty Oak of the poem we can declare, as we hold to the Savior, "[And] now I've found, with thanks to you, I'm stronger than I ever knew" and the great adversary cannot bring us down.

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