Richard and Angela were fast asleep when a roar shattered the silence. A twister was outside the door. Before they could crawl into the closet, the windows exploded, and deadly debris was peppering the room like a machine gun.
Richard held onto the closet door with adrenalin infused strength while the chaos continued. When the roar was finally reduced to a whimper, they left the closet to survey the damage. Half of their old farmhouse was destroyed.
The massive oak just outside their door was leveled, but it wasn’t the only tree lost. They had 25 acres of mature timber which was completely knocked down and destroyed by the awful wind. Several out-buildings were plowed over as well. The evidence of the ferocity of the storm was the 2 x 6 that had been driven through the house.
The destruction all around them was thorough, but the house, though severely battered and bruised was still standing. Why?
The massive oak tree outside their house, dropped in such a way that the branches fell over and covered up the house. The house was held down and in place by the immense canopy of the tree.
Richard and Angela love Jesus and they believe that the Lord protected them. I believe it too.
In Psalm 139:4-5, the Psalmist described the Lord saying, “Thou hast beset me behind and before and laid thine hand upon me.”
He understood God as one who fully understood him and cared for him – a God who extended His mighty hand and covered him up with it, to protect him from the assaults of life.
I visualize God’s hand in the canopy of that tree, covering and protecting the couple.
In Exodus 33:20-22, God intended to protect Moses from exposure to His own holiness and greatness. What interests me is in how the Lord accomplished it.
He said to Moses, “You cannot see my face, for no one can see me and live.” The Lord said, “Here is a place by me; you will station yourself on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and will cover you with my hand.” – NETBible.com
The Lord directed Moses to stand in a cavity in the rock. God would then pass by, while using His hand to shield Moses so that he would not be slain by God’s glorious but terrifying holiness.
Again, God’s hand was extended to provide protection. And again, I can see that hand reaching down from heaven and covering that little East Texas farmhouse, in the form of that tree canopy.
Their story excites me and reminds me that our God is an active participant in our lives. He uses His hand to shelter us from that which would destroy us.
OK I know that He doesn’t shelter us from everything. I worked hard to protect my own children from danger, but I also allowed them to occassionally face difficult challenges in order to strengthen and mature them. God does no less for us.
And of course, there are those who do not survive tornados. How do we explain this? Well – I do not pretend to fully understand God and I tremble to try to explain Him.
But I also know that what we regard as tragedy, God regards as blessing. The Psalmist wrote, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” – Psalm 116:15
The Lord is eager to shower the joys and blessings of heaven on His children. It is precious to Him to see them come home.
But for now, we can be comforted knowing that God is at work, sheltering us from dangers of which we are not even aware.
A PRAYER: Lord, how good it is to know that Your hand is big enough to cover us.
This has been Jim Johnson with pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.