I'm so thankful. Somehow, in the midst of all those crazy winds that swept through Pennsylvania thanks to Hurricane Sandy, we never lost power. Amazing, especially when I see how many still are without it and continue to pray for them. We've not had school all week for there is still widespread damage, power outages and still so many impassable roads from downed trees holding potentially live power lines captive. The beloved Jersey Shore is devastated. The vibrant, never sleeping NYC has had an incredibly difficult week. So all of us who are in the pockets of safety with power are so very, very thankful for the little things like being able to walk into a room and turn on a light switch, make a cup of tea in the morning, or take a hot shower.
We came through the storm relatively unscathed . . . although we had a bit of a narrow escape from disaster Monday night. Our home is surrounded by some very tall, very old trees and we've been keeping an eye on several of them, wondering if the next storm might bring one of them down.
When we'd watched the news all day long, we finally decided to pull out a movie and had settled in for another viewing of the last Harry Potter. The wind was quite intense and quite fitting for the movie's sweeping saga. I don't remember having winds whip around our home like that before for an extended time. It really was scary. Our candles and flashlights were ready. But suddenly, we heard a crash outside - actually it was rather muffled from the volume of the wind! We peered through the front door, fully expecting to see our dear old maple but were greeted by evergreen branches. It was rather Narnia like.
Now remember I'd been claiming those promises in Psalm 91, especially the one that says, "If you make the Most High your dwelling, then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent."
Hmmm . . . . so, what's your definition of "near"???
That tree was stretched out across the entire length of our house, branches reaching out menacingly for windows and gutters and doors, coming about as close, wait no, as near, to our house as it could come, but without actually bringing any disaster upon it!! OK, it brought down a good chunk of our gutter, wiped out a few solar lights in the front flower bed and blocked any easy exit. But had it fallen in a southwest to northeast direction instead of east to west, it would have landed right, smack, dab ON our house, crashing right through the roof and who knows how many windows? And that would certainly have been classified as closer to a disaster!
Who can say why we were spared? I'm certainly not the only one who was praying, believing, trusting that God would protect us. I even remember thinking when I posted my last blog entry that perhaps I was asking for trouble, making such a public pronouncement of trust. Would God test my faith during the storm?
Even after a bunch of the offending branches had been pruned back, it's still easy to see that this tree could have brought plenty of disaster near our tent. One friend commented on Facebook, "It's as if a hand guided it down . . . " and I agree. And we are so humbly thankful.
I don't have easy answers for the big and agonizing questions about why God allows some to suffer and others to be spared. There's plenty of truth to be studied in His Word about it but I don't think the answers are simple or easy. He is God and He is almighty and sometimes His ways are hard to understand. My heart aches for those who have lost everything in flood or fire or wind. For those of us who came through the storm safely, it seems like an opportune time to count our blessings and open our hearts and hands to help as we are able.
It also seems like a good time to remember that all that we are, all that have, all that we are blessed with are from His Hands. And maybe times like these are perfect times to make sure we don't ever take any of it for granted.