Like an Olive Tree
I was flipping through my notes one day when I came across a note from a conference I recently attended led by Lysa TerKeurst. The note was about an olive tree, of all things.
If you read through the Bible, you'll find several references to olive trees, and if you're anything like me, you may wonder why something as simple as an olive tree is mentioned a bazillion times in the Bible. I didn't even think there was any significance in the olive tree for the longest time (I was wrong).
At the conference, Lysa talked about a few little known truths about the olive tree. For one, in order to produce fruit, the olive tree has to experience harsh winds from the east and fresh winds from the west. In other words, the refreshing winds alone won't help the olive tree produce fruit. It takes the rough, dry winds and the refreshing winds together to create fruit.
Secondly, once the olive tree produces fruit, it must go through a process before it is edible. Once the olive tree produces olives, you can't just pluck them off and take a bite. You must wait until they are ripe.
Lastly, what's most interesting about the olive tree to me is the olives aren't even the most valuable part of the tree. The oil, created when the olive is hard pressed, holds the most value.
So, what does an olive tree have to do with us? I believe there are three important lessons within these three unique attributes of olive trees that relate to all of us:
1. Our lives will not be exempt from hardship.
All of us will experience things in this life we wish we didn't have to, but the olive tree shows us something different. Maybe in order to bear our "fruit," whether that means finding your calling, meeting your spouse or reaching a goal, you too must experience the harsh winds and the refreshing winds like the olive tree. Maybe, just maybe, the challenges we face serve a divine purpose.
2. God is all about patience.
You may want something so bad, but feel as though God doesn't want you to have it. Know this: God will never withhold anything good from his children. Even if you think what you want is good, God knows what's best. I've discovered there's often a process that must take place within us in order to receive the good God has in store. Maybe God isn't slamming the door in your face. Maybe He's preparing you to walk through the door. Trust Him. Just like olives must undergo a process before they are edible, we often must undergo a process within ourselves to receive what God has prepared for us.
3. There is beauty in our struggles.
Just like olives are squeezed and pressed, we will also find ourselves feeling squished under the weight of an obstacle or circumstance. But just like how olive oil is created from the olive being hard pressed, something beautiful can come from our challenges.
With God, pain and suffering do not have the last word. As Jesus said in John 16:33, "In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world".
Let's learn a thing or two from the olive tree.
Hannah Brewster // @hannahlaurenbrew
Hannah is currently an Okie studying public relations at Oklahoma Christian University. She loves all things brunch, music and chocolate chip cookie dough, and she is a shameless coffee addict. Hannah has a passion to spread joy and hope through sharing her heart through writing.