Friday, July 23, 2010

Give God the glory, great things He has done!

3:50 p.m. Today's project was to neaten up our woodpile and a bunch of fallen twigs fom last week's odd collapse of a major tree branch. The beautiful Chinese elms in our front yard have had rather a checkered past!

We originally had four trees, which provide a thick canopy of shade to our yard, their narrow leaves a refreshing pistachio green. In fall the leaves turn a fiery orange-fuschia, a stunning, traffic-stopping display. But seriopus inceidents began occuring, beginning in 1993. 8-year-old Heather was playing in the living foom by the front window, shortly before I returned from a Junior League officers' conference, when a driver lost control at our corner, flew through a flimsily-built wall, and took out half of one tree in the front of the yard. When Kathy Allavie and I pulled up, the compact car was stopped barely a foot from the window! My younger daughter was safe, if somewhat shaken.

I truly believe what Jesus said about little children in Matthew 18:10: "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven." Jesus truly cares for and protects them!

Fast-forward 14 years to 2007, on a bright Saturday morning when Steve had to work in Ontario and I was out to breakfast with my friends at Mimi's. Heidi and Heather were both home sleeping. I got a call from Heidi, "COME HOME! TWO CARS CRASHED ON THE CORNER AND A TRUCK LANDED IN OUR FRONT YARD! THE POLICE ARE HERE!" I turned to my friends Yvonne, Sherri, DeAnna, Randi, Jill and Christine with the news, and they said to finish my breakfast since the police were already there and it didn't seem that anyone (in our house anyway) was hurt. Good counsel! I'm glad I ate, because what I saw upon arrival a short time later would have caused a hungry homeowner to keel over.

One tree was knocked down completely, others had branches sheared off, the neighbors were camped on my front porch taking in the scene--one with a toddler on her lap!-- a cop was taking pics on his cell, and a huge silver truck was parked catywampus on my lawn! The patio table was knocked over, the patio flagstones were broken up and flung everywhere, our wooden fence was destroyed, leaving our golden retriever Kena staring mournfully through the slats. (Samson, our border collie/ Dalmatian mix, had gone into hiding). The girls told me later that Emmanuel, their older brother Kriss' best friend from 3 houses down, was at the house by the time they ran downstairs in their pjs! That's how terrific the sound of the crash was.

Miraculously, not one branch, board or brick had come through the windows. Steve came home a in record time from Ontario, and the process of settling our damages between homeowners insurance and two drivers' auto policies began. The photos were an Internet sensation...cold comfort from the chaos. Over the ensuing weeks, Steve and our oldest son Sean boarded up the backyard, cleared away the tree branches, dug up the stump, and cut up the wood to be disposed of. Eventually we had a steel-reinforced wall built in our front corner of the yeard and two brick and wrought iron walls constructed with the claim proceeds.
Lots of aggravation, but God was once again faithful not to allow any of us to be injured!!

That wasn't the end of the trees' sad tale. Last week, on a perfectly clear late afternoon, a major branch of the tree near the street wall just cracked and fell down! I happened to be upstairs, heard a loud noise, and climbed up on the master bath toilet to look out the window. The dogs were barking loudly. All I saw was a few old dry leaves on the roof tiles, and thought, "That couldn't have been a rat!" Nothing else seemed out of place from that angle, or, in the midst of all the greenery, the crack wasn't obvious.

Heidi and Pavel arrived at the house, then came in and announced, "One of the tree branches fell down!" We ran out front, and a huge branch had indeed cracked on its own and was lying down on the lawn! No harm to anyone, praise the Lord, but Steve has spent another week cutting up branches, with the help of Pavel's dad, who brought his chainsaw over to begin the process. He created a tidy supply of logs for all of us!

Today, we were able to give some logs away to our friends Kenny and DeAnna, and send them off with some produce, too. God allowed the branch to fall down harmlessly, and the tree will be a source of campground heat for any number of people this summer.

Only the Lord knows why that branch cracked and toppled, but I know, from knowing my loving God, that He has a good and beneficial purpose for everything He does.

Here is a sample of the miracles He performed for the children of Israel from Psalm 78: 13-16:

He divided the sea and caused them to pass through;
And He made the waters stand up like a heap.
In the daytime also He led them with the cloud,
And all the night with a light of fire.
He split the rocks in the wilderness,
And gave them drink in abundance like the depths.
He also brought streams out of the rock,
And caused waters to run down like rivers.

My God can do anything!

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