the oak tree
A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak trees 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.
--Johnny Ray Ryder, Jr.
Creator of heaven and earth, thank You that none of us goes unseen in Your eyes. We matter to You. [It] matters to You. Provide shelter under Your wing for those of us who are hurting and confused. Some can't stop crying, others don't know how to start.
Quiet our emotions when we are distraught, and create a great stirring in our hearts when we are numb. Grant us the strength to return to You with our broken pasts and our broken hearts. Lift the burden of believing that healing and forgiveness must happen all at once.
Uphold our baby-steps in grace, and cover our mistakes in mercy. The world is a dangerous place for little ones. Reveal the refuge of childlike faith in You and transform us into a united force for Your glory and the good of mankind. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.