Last week we had a storm. Now, I talk a lot about storms, but I am usually discussing the personal kind. The kind where life grabs you by the shirttail and tosses you around until you don't know what end is up. The kind of storm that always has a spiritual application and a great lesson to be learned. The kind of storm that causes you to run to the Lord (or, for some, sadly, away from Him) and hide under His protective wings.
This was not that kind of storm. This was the physical, weather-related kind. A storm classified as a hurricane. They had named it Matthew. I was in a location that would be hard hit if its first landfall blow was as predicted.
But, by the grace of God, the full force of the storm stayed out several miles over the ocean as it passed by my way. We still had wind forces of more than seventy-five miles an hour, which is nothing to sneeze at, but was much better than the one-hundred-thirty miles an hour that they had forecasted. God's mercy. I will talk more about that tomorrow.
But for today, I want to talk about the palm trees in my yard. Yes, I have palm trees. Four of them! I don't know how many hours have gone by since I have mentioned to someone how good God is to me, so I'll say it to you. The Lord is so very good to me!
Now, it goes against reason that I LOVE physical storms when you consider how violently I've been tossed about recently in the kind that would be classified as a life's event storm. But I do. As long as I know that all of my loved ones are safe, I love a good storm.
It is God, in all of His power and might. I see Him and hear Him. There is no fear for me in the physical storm. There is never a time that I know more clearly the helplessness of man and the almighty power of God than in a storm. Man cannot do this. Only the mighty hand of God. And I stand in amazement every single time.
And so, as anyone who knows me well would know that I would do, I stood in the safety of the front overhang of my house and enjoyed the fury of Matthew as he passed by. Now, I am too heavy for seventy-five mile per hour winds to pick up and move around much, so the only damage being done to me was caused by the hard, driving rain crushing my face, and I like that. Very much! So I spent a good bit of time out there.
Funny, there weren't many other people out in my neighborhood. Okay, no one. Shocking!
And right in front of this overhang, just on the other side of the sidewalk, was one of those palm trees. In spite of the crazy driving wind and rain that obscured my view of the other three, this one was still clearly visible. It stood not ten feet from my face.
The entire day of the storm was as dusk, so heavy were the clouds. I also love dusk. It is one of my favorite times of the day. So God gave me an all day dusk in which to enjoy the storm. And before my face was this palm tree. A palm tree weathering the storm with me.
As the wind gusted and blew at the height of its fury, I watched this tree bend over until its top palm branch touched the ground. Then I watched it quickly whip back up into its upright position, and then just as quickly be tossed to and fro and then back down to the ground again.
And I thought of my life, and the storms that God has brought me through, and I knew that I was just like this tree-- bent and beaten, but never truly broken. God's will and His strength have carried me through. I speak of being broken, but I now know that if your foundation is sure in the Lord Jesus and you are walking close to Him before the storm hits, that you are just bent low, and that you will recover.
And then God gave me a verse. You know He always does.
Acts 20:24 - "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."
None of these things move me, when its all said and done.
As we drove around our neighborhood after the storm was over, we saw many broken trees. But not ours. Our palm trees stand tall.
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