Last night, I was working in our woodworking shop, building a small island for our church’s new coffee shop. Even with my earplugs I could hear a mighty wind blowing up outside. As I went to my car to go home, I exited the side door to our building and discovered a 20″ diameter tree had crashed down in the very spot that I habitually park my truck. I stood a few moments in the rain and wind just looking at the roots that hung in the air, almost in my face, and all I could do was to be filled with thankfulness for what God had done. But little by little, He began to reveal to me all the events He had shaped to spare me of disaster ¹.
Recently, we upgraded our cell phones to Droid Xs, so when I made an appointment with clients to meet us at the shop I immediately texted my wife, and put it in the phone’s calendar. Unbeknown to me, the alarm setting had been preset to off. And for some reason, Ann, who texts all the time, had not seen the message. All that to say that we were still home when the dear ladies arrived at the shop, and parked in my usual spot so that when I arrived, I parked elsewhere. Suffice it to say that several events had to happen for my truck to be spared. And we won’t even discuss the fact that if the wind had blown the other way, it would have been curtains for that part of the building.
So, what more could God be up to than showing me how his hand is in all things…Well, it just dawned on me that He was illustrating His Word! Now I wish I could insert this picture into my PC Study Bible. Maybe I can paste a tiny picture in my Bible right next to Psalm 29… Fast rewind to a year ago. I was in Italy visiting my mother, and planning to visit dear friends in Perugia. They are English missionaries who publish Christian books in Italian. So I was asking the Lord for a word for them before I went, and He showed me the number 29. Since I had been reading the Psalms, and listening to the Sons of Khora’s all Psalm worship songs, I went straight to Psalm 29. In it David describes a mighty wind, caused by the very voice of God, raging over the water and the land, uprooting huge trees, breaking even the cedars of Lebanon into pieces. The very power of God’s word, by which He created, the power (bandwidth beyond compare) which hold all things together, and without which the created universe would revert to the chaos from which it came. It was a picture of the economic and cultural storm that was already under way.
But what was the point, then, beyond making the statement that God is mighty? The Psalm begins with an instruction for us to be worshiping Him. And after this lengthy description of a mighty storm ravaging the land and changing life as it had been before, David says the following: “…And strips the forests bare, And in His temple everything says ‘Glory'” And he finishes with these verses: “The Lord sat as King at the flood; Yes, the Lord sits as King forever. The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.”
So, if we’re right with Him…when we live in worship, in unceasing prayer…that is, constant awareness of Him…stewarding His presence, as Bill Johnson says…we are then in the temple, because we are the living temples of the Holy Spirit…and all is right with us, and we have peace in the storm! Not to be trite, but last night I was where I should be, making something with my hands for the “temple”, as onto the Lord, and when the wind blew, I had a warm feeling of all being well. Even while the tree fell down, missing my truck and my building…because He had so arranged so many events to make it so!
Some may think it presumptuous to think that the creator of the universe would care to be so intimately involved with my little life. Some may not conceive that no power could be intimately involved in all the beings and all the events of such a vast creation. Preferring to believe instead in the infinitely more unlikely alternative, that all is a result of random happenchance. I once heard an astrophysicist from Caltech explain that when he became a Christian he had calculated the likelihood of all the prophecies in the Bible which have already occurred coming true (which they have without exception), is 1 in 10 to the 84th power! That’s 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000! He compared this to the likelihood of the 3rd law of thermodynamics reversing, ie your car’s engine refrigerating instead of combusting, which is actually 1 in 10 to the 80th power, or 10,000 times more likely. Could happen, but highly unlikely.
I’m tempted to calculate the probability of my truck getting crushed, but I would probably loose most of you, if I haven’t already. Suffice it to say, that I have this huge inner warm fuzzy, that the creator and ruler of the universe is watching out for me because I am in relationship with Him. And no matter what storm is raging outside, He protects me. And He protects you. He is intimately aware of all the events and the branching events that began before the beginning of time. He has more thoughts of you than the beach has grains of sand, and they are all good ². Wow! I just got it. Each grain of sand is a branching event in your life, all leading up to right now, and He has guarded each one like a hen broods over her eggs and chicks! And He loves you desperately!!!
¹ Romans 8:28 ”
² Psalm 139:17-18 “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.
Post Script: The whole Old Testament is a testimony of the power of God and His immense love for His people. When the testimony was forgotten, the people floundered. That fallen tree is a part of my testimony, which is why I am driven to remember and share it. Your testimony, which is what God has done in your life, is extremely important to your walk with Him. It builds on itself. If your circumstances are dire, pick out even the tiniest pebble and give thanks for it and share it with others who could be blessed by it. Share your testimony on facebook page: “One on one with Franco”
Post Script #2: More branching events, and more Romans 8:28, god using all things for the good. A friend just called and he will be cutting up the tree for firewood to heat his home next winter!