In Which God Answers Prayer and Reminds Me of His Protection
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. For He will deliver you from the snare of the flower and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will findrefuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night..." (Psalm 91:1-5a)
Those who know me very well know that I am a very fearful person. In fact, a bit of a phobiac, if indeed that is a word. Ever since that month in which Aunt Leah, Harrison, and Sophia died in a fire, our cousins' cousin died unexpectedly from a seizure, and we discovered about our friend Megan R's death from an accidental gunshot wound, I have been terrified for the safety of my family. I have been terrified of fire, of carbon monoxide, of hunters, of illness, of the cracked tree in our side yard falling on my parents' bedroom during a windstorm. Many has been the night that I've laid awake praying over and over, "Lord, please protect us-- please protect each member of our family-- please protect our house."
I know the Lord understands the fear that arises from seeing tragedy in the lives of people around me, and yet that does not make that fear, that lack of trust, right or even "okay". But He cares. He watches over us. And today He proved that to me in a very special way.
I had been awake for much of the night. From the time I went to bed to about 12:30 or 1:00, I was awake thinking about this and that, and at around 4:00 I woke up again-- not with the terror that I've awakened with many a time, thinking I smelled smoke or something like that, but rather just with a nagging, quiet sort of fear. My dad was going to be leaving to visit some friends in another state at 5:30, and a violent wind was blowing outside and smacking raindrops against my window. I was worrying about him and Mommy driving to the airport in the bad weather, and about him flying, and about us at home, and the wind... and as usual in a windstorm, I was thinking about the tree in our side yard with the crack up the center. "Lord, please protect Daddy as he travels, and please protect us here at home. Keep us from all harm..."
I decided to stay up to see Mommy and Daddy off to the airport, so about five minutes before they left, I got up. Kitty had come in when they were taking luggage out to the van so I sat on the floor and pet her while Mommy and Daddy finished getting everything ready. Then I hugged Daddy and told him "I love you" and "Have a safe trip." Then Kitty and I went to the sliding door, which offers a good view of the road, to wave to Mommy and Daddy as they drove away. It was still dark outside, so I did the usual "wave" we've been doing since we moved to this house-- switching the porch light on and off a couple times. They disappeared around the corner and I let the curtain fall. "Well, I guess we'll go back to bed," I was thinking. But before I could move from that spot, I heard a noise.
Crack. Crack. Crack.
I'd heard that sound before-- like the prelude to thunder, only louder and closer. "Ohhhhhhhh Lord, help us! The tree!" I scooped up Kitty in my arms and made a dash for the side of the house opposite the side yard. Kitty, terrified, jumped out of my arms, and before I had even crossed the room, I heard a loud BANG!
My next thought was, "Did it fall on the house?" It hadn't sounded like it-- the bang was more of that of the tree landing on the hard ground outside. Still, I hurried to Amanda's and my bedroom to see. The windows in our 1950s ranch-style house are very high for a short person like me, so I climbed onto my bed, lifted the shade, and looked out.
My heart stopped.
Oh. My. Word.
Just outside my window the very tip-tops of the tree were just touching the side of the house. Right on the other side of the wall from where my head goes when I sleep. Right there. Just touching the edge of the house.
"Wow. God is good!" I said. Amanda, who had been awakened by the noise, climbed up on my bed too and was awestruck as she, too, saw the protection of God. A moment later, Bethany joined us and we all were amazed at the goodness of our God.
A while later, when the morning had cleared the darkness, we looked out and saw that the tree had not broken off close to the ground. It had broken off several feet up-- maybe five feet-- jaggedly, as it had had a crack up the middle (I think caused by us having our campfires right next to it). If it had broken further down, it might have landed on our roof and caused more damage. However, God guides even the forces of nature, and He had it cut off just where it did to protect us and our house, just as I had prayed He would.
I wonder why we are so hesitant to believe that God really does watch over us, that God really does hear and answer our prayers. Our God loves and cares for His children. He has promised in Scripture to watch over them, and He always keeps His promises. Sometimes He allows what we call tragedy-- a freak fire or a mistake gunshot-- but that does not mean He has forgotten to watch over His children. And sometimes-- in fact, most of the time, if you think about it-- He shields us from things that can harm us. Whether it is a tree falling on you during the night, or skidding on the ice on a bridge, or a semi-truck drifting into your lane-- so many things could happen that we don't even realize, but our God keeps His eye on these things, and He protects us. And he not only keeps an eye on our physical protection, but He also sees the other details of life that we think He might not notice-- family problems, church problems, friendship problems, stress from busyness, and other things. He sees, He knows, and He cares. And He always keeps His promises.
So now I know I do not need to fear. My God is watching over me, and when I lay my head down at the end of this day, I can do so knowing my God neither slumbers nor sleeps-- He is watching over me and my precious family.