“The Oak Tree” Poem

Elder M. Russell Ballard shared a poem about enduring the tests of life in the CES Fireside talk that was broadcast to young adults on 7 November 2010.[1] It is entitled “The Oak Tree” and is attributed to Johnny Ray Ryder Jr.[2]

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.


[1] Ballard, M. Russell. “Follow the Doctrine and Gospel of Christ.” CES Fireside for Young Adults. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 November 2010.

[2] I found many websites that quote this poem but I was not able to find any information about Johnny Ray Ryder Jr., who is purported to be its author.

tagged: adversity, humility, peace, physical death, poems, testimony

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