My husband and I walked out on our lanai this past Thursday and saw the storm had blown a branch off of our neighbors’ tree.
“Look!” Steve gasped and pointed.
I was startled to see the large tree in our front yard was down with the roots exposed. We went onto our front porch. Several of the palm trees in our front yard had snapped as if they were tooth picks. Thankfully there was no damage to the house. Moments before the electricity had gone off.
In over 20 years of living in our house, we had not experienced such extensive damage to our trees. Whether it was severe winds from the thunder storm passing through or a brush with the tornado that was spotted in our area, this storm interrupted our lives. The intrusion was minor—especially compared to people’s whose homes were damaged or what families in Japan were going through after the tsunami.
So I wondered why I felt so bothered by it.
One reason was it reminded me how little control I have over events in my life and forces in this world. One minute my yard looked pretty good and the next we had lost the tree my children and grandchild had climbed in and played under, and which we’d enjoyed over the years–as well as beautiful palm trees which had survived many other Florida storms.
Another thing I had no control over was getting the electricity back on. Some said it could take up to a week because the transformer had started on fire.
Today after having no electricity for over 48 hours, the lights came on. I’ve had no power for that long before, but this time I felt joyous when the ceiling fan whirred, the refrigerator hummed, the telephone beeped on, the digital clock on the stove lit up, and I could flip a switch and there was light. One reason I celebrated was I had feared it would be off much longer.
I found myself rejoicing over the luxury of electricity, which many people in the world don’t have.
All of this seemed to correlate with my spiritual life. It often bothers me that I don’t have control over circumstances. When difficulties have come, I’ve mourned that I have no control over their arrival or when things will get back to normal and “the lights will be turned back on.”
Just as I lost the tree that was so special to me and my family, I’ve had other losses that like the tree may not be major, but still affect my life. I certainly don’t welcome them and find myself wondering why I have to deal with them.
The last few days’ events remind me that in the midst of loss–whether big or small– good things happen. Loss causes me to count my blessings and to stop taking things for granted.
Today as I worked on cutting up palm tree branches, I watched my husband along with other men in the neighborhood working together with a wood chipper to deal with trees and branches that had fallen. There was a bond there. I’ve experienced that same thing when going through hardships. I’ve felt a bond with others who are facing similar circumstances. We’ve worked together with God’s help to deal with those times.
As I watched the tree being dismantled, memories of our years in this house went through my mind. Saying goodbye to the tree was connected to me saying goodbye to the house as well since Steve and I plan to move in the not so distant future.
Some memories within the walls of our home were of painful times. At one point, I called our home, “the house of pain.” But today I saw it differently. Yes, I’ve had pain, but I’ve also had tremendous growth because of it.
Losses in family life led to me being more dependent on God and more connected to people. I saw how God truly brought good from bad things that happened in the years I’ve lived in our home.
Somehow the loss of the tree has helped me come to terms with larger losses I’ve suffered in my life and specifically in my home life. I rejoice that God has used them for my good and for His glory. Once again I am reminded of the truth of Romans 8:28.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. NIV
What about you? Are you facing a loss? Are you turning to God to deal with it? Embrace the truth that God brings good from every bad thing as long as we stay connected to Him. Then look for and celebrate that good and His goodness.