“Thank You, Lord! Thank You, Jesus!”, was all I could say as I grabbed my 7-year-old daughter Jayden by the hands and pulled her close. I tried to comfort her while trying to stop the racing of my heart all at the same time. She was alright I kept telling her and telling myself. She was alright.
Just minutes before she had been playing on our couch that sits along our living room windows. We had the blinds up and were watching the beginnings of Winter Storm Pax. Mike (my husband) and I had just left the room when we heard a loud crashing sound that shook our house. Running back to a frightened and screaming Jayden, we saw that a massive limb had fallen from the huge oak tree which sat in our front yard.
There were branches pressed against our windows seeking a way in our warm house. Ice from the crash of the limb was slung against the windows, the door and house breaking off into small crystals. Our 8 X 12 porch was covered by the 9 foot limb. It measured 37″ around from the breaking point of the tree. Had we only the one door, we’d been held captive by the limb.
And then it began….
One by one, we watched the domino affect until each of the twenty oaks which surround our house and our neighboring church yard began to crack and pop under the pressure. Tree limbs began to pile up and litter the yards and parking lot, even cutting off the back driveway of the church. Had not a dear friend come and clear away the massive intruder we’d been able to see the destruction of our beloved oaks. Those trees have always been a part of our church and it broke my heart to see them give way under the burden of ice.
As the day wore on, the sound of limbs crashing to the ground became the norm until we heard the screeching sound of metal. Reaching the dining room window just in time we saw the large limb fall and slide off to the side of the aluminum shed that covered our church vans. Then came the second crash. The limb again slid off the shed this time to the back side. The process was repeated as another limb fell in front of the vans. Another pop, then another, left two medium size branches dangling directly over the center of the shelter. Each limb was hanging on for life by a thin cord of tree bark.
Sleep came as a gift after the eventful day, yet even in the night we could still hear the sound of tree limbs falling all around us. We were sure we’d lose power somewhere in the night as limbs were already touching the lines.
We awoke with the shrill of the telephone as family members were waking and wondering if we had been safe through the night. Not only were we safe, we still had our electricity. Our happiness and satisfaction was short-lived as we pulled up the blinds which covered our windows. Surely, they had to be one of the grand old oaks to survive through the night.
After breakfast we ventured out to find all of our gorgeous trees had suffered. It pained us greatly to see the once moss-covered limbs laying on the ground, never to sway in the wind again.
We did a careful examination of our house and found no apparent damage, not even a scratch on the window. Mike’s grill sat underneath the heaviness of the limb which had claimed possession of our porch. There was no scratch nor a dent in it. Jayden’s swing had not crumpled under the heaviness of three large limbs. We found no visible sign of damage to the church building or to the church sign. Neither were the vans and the shed impacted by the falling limbs.
As I began to think on these things and see what wonders God had done, I couldn’t help but praise Him. You see…
I believe that the mighty hands that held the mouths of hungry lions and kept them from hurting Daniel, held back the large limbs that wanted to destroy our house.
I believe the same hands that guarded the Hebrew boys from the flames of fire, guarded our church allowing it to be surrounded, yet untouched.
I believe that just as He holds the world in His hands, He holds on to those two remaining branches, keeping them from crashing down on our church vans.
I believe the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians Chapter 4 verses 8-18 when he says:
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed–always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
I believe that we can be troubled on all sides, yet remain safe in His loving arms.
I believe that God is in control and I believe that even in the midst of our storms God is working all things for my good.
I believe with every storm we learn to trust and lean on God.
I believe though I may stumble and fall, He will raise me up again.
I believe He will continue to hold me up even in the midst of the storm.
I believe God.
For I know. (Job 19:25-27)