Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. — Phil. 4:6
About a year ago, a giant oak tree fell from my yard into the street. Right in the middle of a sunny day, with no wind or rain — it just fell.
When we first bought our house, we loved the cool, shady front yard. Most of this shade (and, as it turned out, an insane number of leaves every fall) came from the oak tree. After we settled in, we noticed that the tree looked like it was… leaning.
Anyway, the tree did not bother us at first. It just made the yard more interesting. After a few years, though, my dad came and stood on our porch, studied the angle of the tree, and said “That tree is dangerous. It needs to come down.” My dad is very smart about these things. I trust his judgment. So I started to worry about our tree, thinking maybe we should do something about it.
Only, we didn’t have any money. It costs a lot to safely cut down a tree as big as that one, in a neighborhood as crowded as ours. My husband was unemployed and in school at the time, and the tree was just not a top financial priority. It couldn’t be. Feeding the kids pretty much comes first.
For a while, I just stressed out every time the wind picked up. My active imagination went into overdrive — what if it fell on a passing car? What if my kids were playing on the sidewalk and it came down? What if it destroyed one of the parked vehicles across the street and we were liable? I tried to calm my fears, telling myself it had been leaning like that a long time and had not given us any trouble, not even when a tornado/microburst touched down and twisted off the top of a tree two doors down. And anyway, what could I possibly do to fix it?
Then it occurred to me to ask God about it. One afternoon, I walked over and put my hand on the bark. I told God that I would prefer that the big oak just stay put for a long time. But if it absolutely had to come down, I asked God to take care of it, to bring it down Himself, safely — because He knows how to do that.
I prayed that prayer every time a storm came through, every time I drove down the street and cringed at the tilted look of the thing. I prayed for over a year. And then I tried to forget about it.
Last April, Jason and I went away for the weekend together for the first time in three years. The oak tree fell while we were gone. According to my neighbor, nothing was happening weather-wise — just a pretty spring day, full of sunshine — when suddenly with a creak and a gigantic bang, our tree gave up the ghost for good. It landed squarely across a normally busy street. It came down on the exact spot where, minutes before, our babysitter had loaded my kids into her Jeep and driven away. No one was home. No one was hurt. No property was seriously damaged, although the entire block lost electricity for several hours, and our sidewalk acquired some serious dents.
By the time we got home, the street had been cleared, and friends were busy with chainsaws in our front yard, stocking up on firewood for the coming winter.
My kids thought the remainder of the tree was awesome. It provided a unique playground for them in its various shrinking stages throughout the year. All that’s left now is a big bare circle in the front yard.
You might wonder what the testimony is here. It was a natural occurrence, right? But I know what I asked my Father to do for me. And I know that He did it. And not only that — but He made sure I wasn’t even around to freak out when it happened. Isn’t He great?