A couple years ago a giant carpenter ant riddled old oak tree fell into our yard. That was a sound that we will never forget. A quick “creek”, then a loud “crash” and “thrash” as it tore through nearby trees on its way down, and then a final “thud” that shook the ground…also the sound of crunching metal and shattering glass as it landed on both of our cars! Being left without transportation with jobs to get to and kids to take care of was not what we were expecting or knew how to handle. We took many pictures for the insurance company, made some hurried phone calls, and were able to at least have a plan within a couple of days but it did take months to recover.
Since then we have had most of the larger trees cut down from around our house. We have kept our “tree guy” in business! Every now and then a tree will fall over in one of the vacant lots near our house, usually a giant old jack pine with a few dead branches about three quarters of the way up and then only the smallest crown of green near the top. We all know the sound and we all jump when it happens. Not too long ago one fell onto the vacant lot behind ours…it landed about 20 feet from our house! There was no clean up to do and no damage except to some nice young maple trees where it fell. Yet another Michigan winter storm watch has been issued for this weekend: snow, freezing rain, sleet, ice, and 50+ mile per hour winds are in the forecast…there are many jack pines in vacant lots in our neighborhood!
There are times when our lives are up-ended by events and circumstances that are out of our control. These unexpected events change our lives. They are markers…signposts on the path that you will frequently look back on using words like, “that was the year the tree fell on our cars”, or, “November 2012 was a terrible month for us…” They leave you confused and feeling lost; emotionally drained and powerless. But in the long run they do make you stronger too. They provide an experience that can translate into wisdom for similar events that you or someone around you may face. And that wisdom can be incredibly valuable to someone who is feeling lost, powerless, and emotionally drained. Sometimes unexpected good things can upend our lives and our plans as well. Maybe you just got a promotion or received a gift or found freedom and release from something that has been weighing you down. These too are ripe with lessons to learn and can sometimes be more difficult to deal with.
As I look back at the time when the tree fell on our cars, I can see how in some ways it was a blessing. We had all just gotten out of the car about an hour before the tree fell. It could have been much, much worse. Trees falling from time to time has become a reminder to us of the faithfulness of our Lord and his willingness to act for our benefit in all things even though it might not feel like it at the time. God sees every tree that falls…and He hears it…He has already has a plan for it! All things work together for our benefit and his glory!