This morning at 7:49 am I received a call from our neighbor who had just returned home from his job working the night shift. His first question: “Hey, are you dressed?” I responded: “I’m in my nightgown, what’s up?” He then proceeded to share that one of our tall pine trees had fallen during the storm we had yesterday.
My husband, who was eating breakfast, put on his shoes while I grabbed my bathrobe, as we then headed out to see the damage. Looking out from our side door, one was unaware that any damage occurred. Our screen gazebo we acquired last summer was still standing, as was our shed and garage. Sure, there was debris in the yard, but that is typical after a storm like we had last night.
As we stepped out onto our deck and proceeded to visit our neighbor, we encountered an amazing fall that missed his outdoor entertainment building, glass table, garden area, as well as his house. This tree literally missed his house by inches!! He shared that there were a few markings, but nothing that he was worried about.
Once we got over the “wow” factor, as I looked into the heavens and thanked God that there was no major damage, I asked John if it would be okay that David clean the mess up when he got home from work later in the day. We knew that he was heading to bed to get the rest he needed from his working last night, so it would not have been kind to immediately start the cleanup.
His response was gracious as he shared that he would take care of it, but it would have to wait until he could get his chainsaw from camp. Fortunately, we had one, although electric, it was sufficient to take care of what had fallen. Of course, never having been one to cut down trees, or cut down limbs, I was seeing this project as a huge, sweaty “man” task, asking my husband to go in late for work. Our neighbor refused this offer, so David oiled up the chainsaw and left it with him to use when he woke later that day.
As I went about my morning, I heard the chainsaw in action. By the time I arrived, he had much of the loose stuff cleaned up with the treetop needing to have branches removed then cut into firewood. I was beginning to see, that although a little sweaty, our neighbor made this project seem a little more simple than I had envisioned.
In less than an hour, the damage that was caused by the strength of nature was cleaned up. Wood was stacked for use in his fire pit, while branches were stacked and ready for a quick trip to the dump. There was no doubt that God put His angels to work in guiding this treetop to fall where it did.
As he returned the chainsaw, John shared “You must have it good in with the Lord! The pointed top speared itself into the ground one to two feet!!” Whether a “in” with God or not, I was keenly aware of His intervention. In order to remove the treetop, John had to use a shovel to dig it free.
What is interesting was that just yesterday, while I was out and enjoying the warm rays of the sun, before the storm came through, I was looking up at those trees. I was noticing the height that they had grown, and wondered how we could possibly tend to them. I love that the animals have a place to rest and hide within the limbs, but I am also concerned about the safety of our homes
The budget does not allow for the removal of these six trees, so as I gave thanks to God for how He guided the debris down and away from our homes, I also shared our need with Him. With the trees now having become top heavy, we need to trust that God will supply either a labor of love in man power to take them down, or the resources to hire someone to do the work. For now, we trust in His will for protection and provision.
God does not allow things to happen for the sheer joy in seeing His children suffer, cry or worry. In my heart of faith, I trust that all situations serve a purpose. Sometimes it is hard to see His hand in devastation and destruction, and it is really hard to accept that we must contend to it when it falls in our own backyard. Fortunately, it is a joy that I can say “thank you” to God, knowing that we might be faced with a challenge.
This was certainly not the first time that God used the strength of angels to protect our home. Two years ago we lost our barn, filled with seasonal items, furniture, books and memorabilia from when the girls were young. Trees that were close by were only scorched from the flames, versus the devastation that one could have encountered. Sure, we lost “stuff”, had to rebuild the barn, but that night we had a place to sleep.
Trees falling from the crack of thunder and lightening are acts of nature. We cannot plan the timing or direction in which they will fall. But, our eyes are able to see God’s hand in how nature plays out. Our homes and property were protected. No one, including animal life, was hurt due to this fall.
One of the greatest gifts we have always appreciated and often see in our neighbor is the gift of neighborly love. Watching after each other’s home while the other is away, tending to the snowfall when one is at work, helping out when the other needs a helping hand. All are simple gestures of caring for ones neighbor. But in the scheme of life, they are simply essential in neighborly love.
God plays a very important role in my life. He has allowed challenges to help me grow in strength, opportunities to gently share my faith, and a life to daily trust in Him. What one might consider an act of nature, I consider an act of God.
“God’s miracles are to be found in nature itself; the wind and waves, the wood that becomes a tree – all of these are explained biologically, but behind them is the hand of God.” ~ Ronald Reagan ~
May your day provide you a ray of sunshine, filled with hope, and lined with a miracle.
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