Jeremy Sams Art Blog

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Psalm 29:11

The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.
9x12 acrylic on masonite en plein air

Tall standing oak trees are great examples of strength, even when the ground they're attached to is covered in thick thorns and briers. What a testimony this is to believers in Christ as well. God gives strength in the midst of adversity. When the circumstances that surround you seem as nothing but thorns and reflections of the curse of the earth, that's when these giant oaks become trophies of God's persevering strength that He gives to His people.

This painting was painted on location on the hiking trails at Piedmont Environmental Center located in Jamestown, NC. If you're looking for a good hike with some beautiful scenery, be sure to check this place out. I wish I could have painted something or someone at the base of these oak trees so you could get a concept of their enormity. I'll definitely do more exploring here at P.E.C.


  1. I will pray that God continues to give you strength like these giant oaks. This reminds me of a story someone gave me quite a few years when I was going through a hard time. I have kept it in my Bible ever since. It's kind of long, but I want to share it.

    **Upon a rocky mountainside stood a big oak tree. It was the only tree that seemed to be able to grow on the top of that mountain which was like one big barren rock. There stood that giant oak all alone on nothing but rock. When a swift wind blew, the big tree swayed and cracked, and people in the valley watched it struggle with the storm. After each storm it would again lift its branches proudly to the sky. It stood so firmly because the tree had sent its main root down into the rock and as the root grew bigger it had cracked the rock wide open until it was many feet deep.

    The winds came and blew many kinds of seed into this deep crack in the rock. Seeds of flowers, grass and trees found their way into it and dropped down deep to the bottom. One day a bird sat in the oak tree with a wild grape in his beak which he had plucked from a distant vine. The bird dropped a grape seed which fell to the bottom of the deep crack. There the grape seed found itself in a dark, chilly place. There seemed to be no way of ever getting out. The other seeds that had blown in there were trying to grow, but most of them died.

    "O," said the other seeds to the grape seed, "we have tried so hard to live down here; but it is impossible to live long in a place like this; we get no sun and besides that it is always gloomy down here. And what is still worse, the big oak drinks all the water and there is very little left for us. There is no escape from this place."

    The grape seed was very much discouraged when it saw half-alive and dying seeds everywhere. But silently it went to work; it sent out a little root into some wet ground. After many days a little vine appeared. It is the nature of a vine to want to climb up and to send out little tendrils to hold fast to the steepest wall. Day after day it looked up to the daylight through the deep crack, and each day for a short time it saw the sun. It kept climbing and sending out new tendrils that clung to the wall. One day the vine peeped over the edge of the crack and felt the warm rays of the sun. The vine was happy to be alive. It climbed up the trunk of the oak and along its branches. It grew to be a sturdy vine, and birds came to eat its fruit.

    In life we often get into hard and difficult places like those seeds did in the bottom of the deep crack. Our whole aim must be to get out. When we are down and stay down, we have lost. All the seeds in the bottom of the crevice said to the grape seed, "There is no way of getting out of here." That is what many people say when they have troubles, and things go hard.

    But that is not what the grape seed said when it found itself at the bottom. The grape vine wants to climb, and that is why it is able to climb out of a hole. It keeps its face toward the sun. If we keep our faces turned upward to God we can climb out of very hard places. God especially helps those who need and want help.

    The grape vine climbed out of the bottom with the aid of little tendrils that fastened themselves to the steep wall of the rock. Sometimes life is hard and steep; we must have something with which to hold on. Love can help us out of many hard places. Trust in God to help you will bring God to your side to help. Hope that you can and will be someone better than you now are will give you the courage to keep struggling upward. Love, trust and hope are like the tendrils on the vine; with these we can climb out of any hard place.**

  2. Great story, Leah! Thanks for sharing that.

  3. God is using Psalm 29 in our family's life to help us see His path and make major decisions. When I was looking for artwork based on this psalm, I stumbled across your website. What you wrote about the oak and the underbrush speaks volumes about the turns and surprises of the day. Thank you for these encouraging words! from an Eastern North Carolinian

  4. God bless you fellow east Carolinian, and thank you for your encouragement as well.