4am this past Sunday was one of those moments in life when my heart stopped. Not the kind of stoppage that occurred when Brenda came into my view on our wedding day, no, the kind that comes when you hear the wind howling outside your home and a distinct “CRACK!” of a tree breaking followed by a dreadful “THUD!” One of those stoppages.
I happened to be awake at that time, having been restless as the winds picked up noise and speed while the evening wore on. For several hours I attempted to close my eyes and sleep but my heart would not have it. With every rising gust, I found fear rising alongside. What should have been bedtime for me ended up being wartime – a several hour long fight within my heart as I prayed for the Lord’s help to trust him for protection with each swirling gale.
When 4am rolled around, so the very thing my fears fixed upon came to pass. The “crack!” and “thud!” came and I rushed outside to see what transpired. What my eyes saw brought a sense of God’s nearness and provision to my heart. The tree, a large Linden tree (likely 50-60 feet tall) due to rot in its lower trunk had split and headed directly for a front corner of our home, aimed at our boys’ bedroom. In the path of the falling Linden was one of our two towering Sycamore trees, which acted as a shield and deflected the Linden to fall straight down the middle of our driveway, with its branches somehow missing our home, cars and all of our plantings. Tree branches were literally inches away from our home and just a few short feet from our cars at the back of the driveway. The Lord dropped the Linden in the best place possible, and my heart knew it well, standing there getting soaked in my pajamas at 4am.
My immediate thought as I surveyed the tree wreckage was that the Lord had heard my prayers. My Father was near to me and was listening even as I struggled through the night to keep my anxious eyes fixed on His great faithfulness.
The next morning even as I sat wondering “what in the world do I do with a fallen tree?”, the Lord provided. The phone rang, text messages flew and all of a sudden what was one man with a single chainsaw became a team fit for the Olympics. Glenn Miller, Kurt Weaver, Quay Hanna and all their boys, Pete Privitera, Dave Howell, Jared Randolph and 2 neighbors all showed up and what was once a menacing Linden tree became a tame Linden tree. My heart is so grateful for these men and their help. God has been so very kind.
Because of what Christ has done, the Father literally and fully listens to us as we pray. Moments like 4am on Sunday stand as illustrations of this truth. May God help me to recount his faithfulness the next time fears and anxieties come.